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5 Preface 

10 1.1 

In the beginning was the phrase 

11 1.2 

Polemic before Kruschev 
16 2.1 

Unite d'Habitation, Marseilles 
17 2.2 

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago 
19 3 

Secondary School, Hunstanton 


Le Corbusier; Marseilles (France), 

Unite d' Habitation. 1948-54 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Chicago (Illinois, USA), 
Alumni Memorial Hall 
(Illinois Institute of Technology). 1945-47 

Alison and Peter Smithson; Hunstanton (England), 
4.1 Secondary School. 1949-54 

Progress to a-formalism 

44 4.2 

Yale Art Gallery, New Haven 

45 4.3 










(England), competition design. 1951 

Alison and Peter Smithson; 

Hon ° onc l on (England), Golden-Lane 
S ' n 9, com Petition design. 1952 

Shpff uj d P f ter Smithson; 

(Enol' e lJnivers ity Extensions 
V 9 and) ' competition design. 1953 

SheHiefd'un' 9 A ' a " Cordin 9 le yi 

competition desfgm 1953 nS ' 0nS (En 9 land ^’ 

Pharm^ ^'"' ams 5 Beeston (Nottingham, Englai 
ceutical Factory (dry processes block). 

"“dir", 110 "! 51 " 0 '" 

Rotte T S ^ Van den ^ roe ^ ar| d Jacob B Bakema 
am (Holland), van den Broek House. 195c 

R n xf^ n . es H van den Broek and Jacob B Bakema 
rdam (Holland), Lijnbaan. 1953 




61 5.1 

Brute, non and other art 
68 5.2 

A note on ‘une architecture autre 
70 5.3 

The end of an old urbanism 









Les Maisons Jaoul, Neuilly 
6 2 

Flats at Ham Common, London 
89 6.3 

The Brutalist style 








Vladimir Bodiansky and ATBAT-Afrique; 
Algiers, Mass Housing. 1953 onwards 

Alison and Peter Smithson; Watford 
(Hertfordshire, England), Sugden House. 1956 

Alison and Peter Smithson; 

Rural Housing Project for CIAM — X. 1955 

William G Howell and John Partridge, 

Rural Housing Project for CIAM - X. 1955 

James Stirling; Rural Housing Project 
for CIAM-X. 1955 

Richard Llewelyn-Davies and John Weeks; 
Rushbrooke (Suffolk, England), Village Housing. 1957 

Denys Lasdun and Partners; 

Bethnal Green, London (England), 

Cluster-block. 1957—60 

Alison and Peter Smithson; 

Illustrations to Article ‘Cluster City’. 1957 

Alison and Peter Smithson; Berlin-Hauptstadt 
(Germany), competition design. 1958 

Le Corbusier; La Sainte-Baume 
(Bouches du Rhone, France), 

Pilgrimage Centre (La Cite Permanente), 
first project. 1948 

Le Corbusier; Cap Martin (France), 

Hotel ‘Roq et Rob’ project. 1949 

Le Corbusier; Lake Constance (Switzerland), 

Fueter House project. 1950 

Le Corbusier; Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris, France), 
‘Petite Maison de Weekend’. 1935 

Le Corbusier; Neuilly (Paris, France), 

Maisons Jaoul. 1956 

James Stirling and James Gowan; Ham Common 
(London, England), Langham House Development. 


John Voelcker; Arkley (Hertfordshire, England) 
Lyttleton House. 1956 
















125 7 

Hard cases: the Brick Brutalists 
127 8.1 

Istituto Marchiondi, Milan 
130 8.2 

Habitats: Halen, Harumi, Sheffield 
134 9 

Memoirs of a survivor 

William G Howell, Gillian Howell and Stanley Amis; 
Hampstead (London, England), Terrace Housing. 

Lyons, Israel and Ellis; London (England), 

‘Old Vic’ Theatre Workshops. 1958 

Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall; Gatwick (England), 
Airport. 1957 

Owen Luderand Partners; Catford 
(London, England), Eros House. 1963 

Sheppard, Robson and Partners; 

Cambridge (England), Churchill College. 1964 

Sir Basil Spence and Partners; Brighton (England), 
University of Sussex. 1962/63 

Peter Moro; London (England), Hille Furniture Shop. 
1963 h 

Denys Lasdun and Partners; London, 

Flats in St James’s Place. 1961 

London County Council Architect’s Department 
(Housing Division); Roehampton (London, England), 
Alton West Housing. 1959 

Bresciani, Valdes, Castillo and Huidobro; 

Santiago (Chile), Quinta Normal Housing. 1961-63 

Andre Wogenscky; R6my-les-Ch(§vreuses (France), 
Architect s Own House. 1957 

Atelier 5 (Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, 

Rolf Hesterberg, Hans Hostettler, 

Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini); 

Rothrist (Switzerland), Alder House. 1958 

Atelier 5 (Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, 

Rolf Hesterberg, Hans Hostettler, 

Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini); 

Thun (Switzerland), Factory. I960 

Le Corbusier; St Di6 (France), Factory. 1950 

Walter Forderer, Rolf Otto, Hans Zwimpfer; 

Aesch (Switzerland), School. 1962 










153 U 









Sverre Fehn and Geir Grung; Maihaugen 
(Lillehammer, Norway), Museum Extension. 1959 

Luigi Figini and Gino Pol I ini; Milan (Italy), 

Church of the Madonna dei Poveri. 1956 

Johannes H van den Broek and Jacob B Bakema; 
Nagele (Holland), Reformed Church. 1960 

Sigurd Lewerentz; Stockholm (Sweden), 
Markuskyrka. 1960 

Oswald Mathias Ungers; Cologne (Germany), 
Architect’s Own House. 1959 

Colin St John Wilson and Alex Hardy; 

Cambridge (England), 

Extensions to School of Architecture. 1959 

Sir Leslie Martin and Colin St John Wilson 
(with Patrick Hodgkinson); Cambridge (England), 
Harvey Court Hostel. 1962 

Sheppard, Robson and Partners; 

Cambridge (England), Churchill College, 

Fellows’ Flats. 1960 

Vittoriano Vigan6; Milan (Italy), 

Istituto Marchiondi. 1959 

Aldo van Eyck; Amsterdam (Holland), 

Orphanage School. 1958—60 

Paul Rudolph; New Haven (Connecticut, USA), 
Yale University, Married Students’ Housing. 1962 

Atelier 5 (Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, 

Rolf Hesterberg, Hans Hostettler, 

Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini); 

Berne (Switzerland), Siedlung Halen. 1961 

Kiyonori Kikutake; Totsuka (Yokohama, Japan), 
Tonogaya Apartments. 1956 

Ikuta, Oki and Miyajima; Omiya (Saitama, Japan), 
Fuji Juko Omiya Development. 1957 

Kunio Mayekawa; Harumi (Tokyo, Japan), 
Apartment Block. 1958 

Sheffield City Architect’s Department 
(J Lewis Womersley, City Architect; 

Jack Lynn, Ivor Smith and Frederick Nicklin, 
designers); Sheffield (England), Park Hill 
Development. 1961 

Alison and Peter Smithson; London (England), 
Economist Cluster. 1964 

James Stirling and James Gowan, 

Leicester (England), University 
Engineering-laboratories. 1963 

193 Index of Names in the Text 

195 Photographers 


Bengt Edman and Unnn,»Lj , 

(Sweden), private house, 19^ m ’ Uppsa,a 
Design for facade 

1.1 In the beginning was the phrase... 

One of the more ironical aspects of the recent his¬ 
tory of architecture is that the invention of the term 
'The New Brutalism’ should already be shrouded in 
historical mystery, in spite of the fact that it occur¬ 
red as recently as the early nineteen-fifties and un¬ 
der conditions which should have rendered the whole 
process visible to any historian who was interested. 
The mystification derives from two simple circum¬ 
stances: one, that the term was coined, in essence, 
before there existed any architectural movement for 
it to describe; two, that it was then re-minted to de- 
* " be 3 Part / Cular movement, to which it adhered for 
reasons that were, in part, so trivial and ridiculous 

tha V Y I , n0t be taken seriou sly until later. By 
that time the term The New Brutalism' had come to 

L a n«l°s r soTfr 50 P ° rtentous that ^e explana- 
S niCkname ”' WOuld ^ve seemed 

certainly tn^ 0 ' V™ W ° rd ‘ Brutalist ’ seem ® fairly 
Asolund y H HaVe b u 6en HanS As P lund > son of Gunnar 
trm in a l KiS aCC ° Unt of the inv ention of the 

in the -a e u-! r t0 EnC de Mar ® which w as reprinted 

Upps a tl7 9 T„ g 11 8 t , C; d dss ^ i "3 » 

! n a mi >dly sarcastic way 'Neo BmtTt w!!^ tHem 
,sh word for ‘New Brutalists'l Th t i^ (th ® Swed ' 
at a jollification together with ^ f ° L° Wing s ™mer, 
among whom were Michael VenWs" E " 9 ' isb friends - 
Graeme Shankland, the term „ ’ ° l,Ver Cox and 

! n a jocular fashion. When I vision ?! ent,oned a 9ain 
«n London last year they tnu d ^ Same friends 
brought the word back with 318 that they had 

that it had spread like wildfire anrtt!, 0 En9 ' and ' and 

what astoundingly been adoot h bad| some - 
tion of younger Engli^farchitecu!”^ 3 fac ' 

But if this account of • 

oorate, the version of ^spre"^" °p ' ™ ^ ac ' 
leading (though Asplund could 1'^ " 9 and is mis - 
Brutalist' is not the sa m ^ 

and '» was the latter phrase th* u 7 Brutalis "’. 
been adopted by a younger f a ^ had S P read and 
g lf f? r ?nce is not merely of t°" E " 9land - The 
Brutalist’ is a stylistic \2 ? f ° f WOrd s: 'Neo- 

Neo-Gothic, whereas 't 

Brutahst pjuase^'^n the 



Neverthless, the term ‘Brutalist’ undoubtedly was 
brought back to England by the three architects 
named by Asplund, and from them passed into the 
common colloquial vocabulary at the two main cen¬ 
tres of architectural discussion in London at that 
time: the Architectural Association (a professional 
club with an attached school) and the Architect’s 
Department of the London County Council, which 
was just about to embark on its period of greatest 
productivity. Within this context of professional gos¬ 
sip and discussion, however, the word ‘Brutalist’ 
was used in a rather specialised sense (for polemi¬ 
cal reasons which will appear later). Whatever As¬ 
plund meant by it, the Cox-Shankland connection 
seem to have used it almost exclusively to mean 
Modern Architecture of the more pure forms then 
current, especially the work of Mies van der Rohe. 
The most obstinate protagonists of that type of ar¬ 
chitecture at the time in London were Alison and 
Peter Smithson, designers of the Miesian school at 
Hunstanton which is generally taken to be the first 
Brutalist building. The term ‘Brutalist’ was doubtless 
applied to their ideas lightly and in passing, but it 
stuck to them for two reasons: firstly, because they 
were prepared to make something serious of it; and, 
secondly, because Peter Smithson was known to his 
friends during his student days as‘Brutus’from a sup¬ 
posed resemblance to classical busts of the Roman 

This last circumstance seemed so ridiculous that it 
spread about the world as fast as the Smithsons’ 
architectural reputation: even before Peter Smijth- 
son s first visit to America, Sigfried Giedion’s stu- 
/iid S . !! ere m Possession of a garbled version 
L™. a ISm equals B ™tus plus Alison”), but the sa- 
wrote ,f 0 rr ® s P° adent in ‘Architectural Design’ who 
surplv h u eter ’ s oioknsme been Fido, it would 
PC M w? ?” ' Th8 N8 ” " had mi.sed th. 

phrase to 6 "- Bm ' 1 bson finally committed the 
been built 7"* Dec ember 1953 “In fact, had this 

the‘New Bn 7°° ? haVe been the first ex P onent of 
already ^ ,n En9 ' and ■ ■ 1 the situation had 

could have se^edT n ° W ° rd but ‘ Brutalism ’ 

a " d many ^ tHe Smithson f 

thev must ^ e,r 9 ener ation urgently felt 

tecture to express rtT th f y Had ’ aS yet ’ no archi ‘ 
such did not really exisUnD Brutalism aS 

Won which made it nf December 1953, the situa- 

which needs to be exam* 8 ^ d ' d e *' St ’ 3 situation 
how it was that a q ,' ned m order to understand 
E. 9 'i 8 hco„S s a ho S u :! d h iSh *"•». dropped into an 
wide echoes. ecome a slogan with world- 

1 'Arrh'l° C . Ura ' ^ ov, °' v ’> August 1956 
Architectural Design’, December 



1.2 Polemic before Kruschev 

The English context into which the Swedish phrase 
was dropped was a violent and sustained polemic on 
style, such as England had not seen since the nine¬ 
teenth century, though very little of this polemic 
reached the public print at the time. In part, this was 
a classic quarrel of the generations, but the quarrel 
was focussed and concentrated almost entirely with¬ 
in one organisation, the Architect’s Department of 
the London County Council, which was almost the 
only place where newly-graduated architects could 
find work in London in the early Fifties, and the quar¬ 
rel was kept open and alive by one dominant factor — 
that the social conscience of the older architects in 
the Department had, in many cases, hardened into an 
acceptance of Communist doctrine . 3 
Such a development might well have been antici¬ 
pated — social conscience in architecture is an Eng¬ 
lish tradition that goes back to William Morris, and 
the very earliest works of the LCC Architect’s De¬ 
partment after its foundation had been mostly in such 
‘social’ fields as housing. In addition, the rise of Mo¬ 
dern Architecture in England in the thirties had been 
qreatly influenced both by the social attitudes of 
distinguished refugee-architects like Gropius, and 

by the ‘Popular Front’ politics of the Spanish Civil 
War (an event which left permanent scars on the 
conscience of the English Intelligentsia). Many ar¬ 
chitects who returned to their calling (or their train¬ 
ing) after World War II, had fought that war to make 
the world safe for some form of benevolent social¬ 
ism and they were heavily committed to the Welfare- 
State ideology of the Labour Government which 
swept to power in the first post-war election in 1945. 
Not unnaturally they looked for inspiration to coun¬ 
tries that could offer examples of advanced Welfare- 
State architecture - and this was one of the reasons 
why architects like Oliver Cox and Graeme Shank- 
land were in Sweden talking to Hans Asplund, as 
mentioned in the previous chapter. 

But in addition to this interest in Sweden, there was 
also a conscious attempt, by architects committed 
to the Communist line, to .create an English ^qui- 
vn | on + of the Socialist-Realist architecture pro - 
oo uadsd in Russia by Zhdanov’s architectural sup¬ 
porters Within the LCC Architect’s Department, at- 
to enforce an Anglo-Zhdanov line were con¬ 
ducted with a grotesque mixture of Stalinist con¬ 
spiratorial techniques (as was also the opposition to 
them) and the traditional methods of British snob¬ 
bery. Thus, disapproval of the architectural views of 

3 For the purposes of this discussion, ’Communist’ is taken to 
mean an acceptance of Marxist doctrine on aesthetics, without 

iZl'i «. — B ';*” 

'Colin A St John Wilson (working in the LCC Hous¬ 
ing Division at that time, like many other architects 
who will appear in this book) was expressed through 
the time-honoured technique of snubbing — one of 
the senior architects who had always previously ad¬ 
dressed him by his nick-name of ‘Sandy’, took care 
to address him after the hardening of the party line 
as Colin, the first name by which he is never ad¬ 
dressed by his intimates. 

This hardening of the architectural line by the Com¬ 
munists occupying the middle ranks of the LCC archi¬ 
tectural hierarchy stemmed partly from a genuine 
conviction that something related to English nine¬ 
teenth-century brick-building was the correct ap¬ 
proach (for which they produced William Morris’s 
‘Red House’ by Philip Webb as justification) and 
partly from a defensive response to their own worse¬ 
ning situation. The post-war years had disappointed 
the hopes of everybody, but for the Welfare archi¬ 
tects further disappointments followed with the fall 
of the Labour Government in 1951, and the ridiculous 
anti-Communist witch-hunts which were pursued into 
all walks of life, even architecture. About the closing 
stages of the People’s-Architecture period at the 
LCC there hangs the unmistakable atmosphere of a 
grand old British lost cause hurling its gentlemanly 
defiance to the world. Early in December 1954 the 
entrenched Communist members of the hierarchy 
gave out the formal line on architecture in such detail 
as the following: Buildings of four storeys or less 
are to be considered as domestic in scale, and must 
have pitched roofs, but those of greater height are 
not domestic, and the form of roof is to be settled 
by discussion in the department. Several younger 
members of the Housing Division to whom this 
‘ukase’ was directed, seriously considered giving in 
their resignations, but they were saved from the 
need for such action by no less a person than Mr 
Kruschev himself, who — only a few days later — first 
entered the world headlines with his intervention at 
the All-Union Congress of Architects, an interven¬ 
tion that brought the Zhdanov line into official dis¬ 
favour, marked the beginning of the cultural thaw 
in the USSR, and left advocates of Socialist-Realist 
architecture all over the world without ideological 

But before Kruschev brought this architectural po¬ 
lemic to a sudden and unexpected close, a clear 
and distinctive character had appeared in both par¬ 
ties, each with its array of fighting slogans, hero- 
figures and cult-object buildings. The negative as¬ 
pects of the younger generation’s attitude may best 
be summed up in the exasperated statement by 
James Stirling: “Let’s face it, William Morris was a 
Swede”. The factual accuracy of this statement 
need not detain us here, it is its emotional truth as a 
total rejection of the style of all forms of Welfare 
architecture that is of consequence. The William 
Morris revival, or People’s Detailing, or whatever 
term was commonly employed to satirise attempts 
to revive nineteenth-century brick-building techni- 
ques, complete with small, shoulder-arched windows" 
etc, was occasionally dignified by the grandiose title 



sbnVRoph 0 ^ C ° UnCl1 Archi, ect's Department (Housing Divi- 

Terrace h P °" ( , L ° ndon ' En S land ), Alton East Housing. 1953-56 

Terrace-housing and low-rise apartments 

‘The New Humanism’, which was in itself a rework¬ 
ing of a title invented (by the ‘Architectural Review’) 
for the Swedish retreat from Modern Architecture: 
The New Empiricism. Given the polemical circum¬ 
stance, the phrase The New Brutalism clearly has 
strong elements of parody of both the other move¬ 
ments, which — in practice —are often very difficult 
to tell apart when built. Both exhibited cottage-sized 
aspirations, a style based on a sentimental regard 
for nineteenth-century vernacular usages, with pitch¬ 
ed roofs, brick or rendered walls, window-boxes, bal¬ 
conies, pretty paintwork, a tendency to elaborate 
woodwork detailing, and freely picturesque grouping 
on the ground. The smaller housing in the Alton East 
section of the LCC’s now-famous Roehampton Es¬ 
tate, though designed by Zhdanov precepts (albeit 
completed after Kruschev’s revisions) could equally 
well be a demonstration of the New Empiricism — 
as Nikolaus Pevsner observed, its inspiration is 

The introduction of Pevsner’s name at this point is . 
appropriate, the kind of architecture to which the 
young Brutalists objected had another ideological 
support that was not swept away by Kruschev’s de¬ 
nunciations: the ‘Architectural Review’, whose en¬ 
thusiasm for picturesque planning at this time has 
still not been forgiven by some of the Brutalist ge¬ 
neration. Throughout the war years Pevsner, and 
others such as H F Clark, had been researching into 
e origins and practice of English picturesque 
p anning in the eighteenth and early nineteenth 
centuries, and on this basis ‘Ivor de Wolfe’ (pseudo¬ 
nym of one of the ‘Review’s’ editors) was later to 
emand a full-scale theory of ‘Townscape’! Such a 
eory was to proceed from the ‘found’ or ‘given’ 
e ements of any planning problem, and by awarding 
e ig est valuation to these elements, was even 
more empiricist than Swedish housing-design of the 
perio . uc an approach, which “judges every case 

p n r ' ^ J T, .f r ^ S |.’ etc > stan ds on a firm tradition of 
n |S 1 era ism, democracy and common law, but 

° a ks°lutely trivial value to a younger 
gen.,« ,o„ whom the giv9 „ e|ement$ of p ,| n . 

in ruin<? Ua +h° n Seemed to b e social chaos, a world 
what aDoe 6 ^ r ° sp ® ct °* nuc * ear annihilation, and 
CteEt? H b ! * •bandonm.nt of 

S S wL .1 ' dS on(h ' »< "»'r 0 'dO'S- 

turbed them mo J aS ? ect of ,he situation that dis- 
m,„dfundament,! com- 

°f the place in all” (* \ t0 <consu,t the genius 
m all , (a tag from Alexander Pope that 

discipline 77 planning 6 landTcapT ° r k 9 - naMy *° ,H ° ' 

^is involved irregular am.,n* ’ 0r b ' S En9,ish fo "o 
existing landscape and struck ° f buildin 9 s ' a "<* th 
caI justification for free asv U ? S became a favo 
adaptive techniques in 'urban^ n ° al p,annin 9 in b 
of Raymond Unwin e u The 9a ^n-c 

"><>->* distinguished a »-"Plo d!scus 8 7 d T„7h"s boJk (7 

Frederick Gibberd; Harlow New Town (England), Housing a. The 
Lawn. 1952 


was much employed by the ‘Architectural Review’) 
seemed to be employed to justify, even sanctify, a 
willingness to compromise away every ‘real’ archi¬ 
tectural value, to surrender to all that was most pro¬ 
vincial and second-rate in British social and intel¬ 
lectual life. There were, of course, understandable 
historical reasons for this ‘soft’ attitude on the part 
of the middle-aged generation. They had been de¬ 
fending some version of the British way of life from 
points all over the globe in World War II, but the 
quality of that way of life was being steadily reduced 
(especially in the arts) by isolation from those cen¬ 
tres, such as Paris, which had traditionally exercised 
both a stimulating and a steadying influence on the 
British Intelligentsia. — 

Thus, in England, there had grown up during the war 
a romantic and fashionably morbid school of land- 
scape/townscape painting, exemplified by the work 
of John Piper and Graham Sutherland, and the vision 
of this school was influential in preparing a mood 
of elegant despair that affected many branches of 
British culture in the ensuing peace. Thus Piper, who 
contributed a dust-jacket to the classic monument 
of post-war intellectual self-pity, Cyril Conolly’s ‘The 
Unquiet Grave’, also executed both the dust-jacket 
and the illustrations to ‘The Castle’s on the Ground’, 
a specimen example of wartime ‘home thoughts from 
abroad’, a sentimental evocation (written in Cairo) 
of the virtues and less damaging vices of Victorian 
Suburbia, composed by the distinguished critic J M 
Richards, also an editor of the‘Architectural Review’, 
like Pevsner. This book in particular was regarded 
by the young as a blank betrayal of everything that 
Modern Architecture was supposed to stand for, and 
a worse act of treachery in that it had been written 
by the man whose ‘Introduction to Modern Architec¬ 
ture’, had indeed served to introduce many of them 
to the art of architecture. 

There can be no doubt that these wartime experien¬ 
ces had served Jo confuse the aims and blunt ihe 
intellectual attack of the men to whom were entrust¬ 
ed such major enterprises as the design of the first 
generation of New Towns, or the Festival of Britain 
in 1951. The younger generation, viewing these works, 
had the depressing sense that the drive was going 
out of Modern Architecture, its pure dogma being di¬ 
luted by politicians and compromisers who had lost 
their intellectual nerve. Young architects, of course, 
were not the only members of their generation to 
feel sentiments like this. Their revolt has been com¬ 
pared to the rise of the ‘Red-Brick’ novelists 5 and 
the ‘Angry Young Men’ in the British theatre, but 
while it is true that many of the Brutalists hail from 
‘Red-Brick’ universities and hold the kind of absolute 
and uncompromising views that characterise the 
Angry Young Men, the fact remains that the first 


5 ‘Red-Brick’ universities (so-called because of their preferred 
building-material) are mainly of 19C origin, unlike the ancient 
universities in Britain, such as Oxford or Cambridge, which are 
mostly built of stone. The new universities have never onjoyed 
the social status and political prestige of the ancient founda¬ 
tions, and they are therefore one of the main breeding grounds 
of social, political and intellectual protest in Britain. 

Sir Hugh Casson (architektomsche 
Leitung): Festival of Britain, 
London/England, 1951 
Blick auf die Abteilung >Downstream< 



Sir Hugh Casson (Director of Architecture); London (England), 
Festival of Britain. 1951 

The Sea-and-Ships Pavilion (designer: Sir Basil Spence) seen 
from the Dome of Discovery (Ralph Tubbs) 

appearance of the New Brutalist attitude precedes 
by some years the first ‘Angry’ play, ‘Look Back in 
Anger’, and they flatly rejected the provincial back¬ 
ground of which novelists like John Wain and Kings¬ 
ley Amis made so much. 

Instead, they deliberately sought out non-provincial 
standards and measured themselves against Inter¬ 
national figures. Refusing empiricist compromise or 
picturesque traditionalism, they set up as their stan¬ 
dards men like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, 


Philip Johnson (still in his Miesian phase), Alvar 

Aalto or Ernesto Rogers. They rejected their im¬ 
mediate predecessors in Britain, except perhaps 
Wells Coates, always true to a Parisian aesthetic, 
and Berthold Lubetkin, the distinguished Russian re¬ 
fugee whose political convictions had never led him 
to compromise with vernacular standards, much to 
the embarrassment of other Communist architects 
in Britain. As early as CIAM VIII in 1951, the young 
had invaded the congress in order to sit at the feet 
of ‘grands maitres’ whose views they could respect 
(whatever may have happened later) in preference 
to listening to their English seniors whom they were 
fast coming to despise. 

At the same time they seemed to be setting out to 
find a historical basis for their architectural convic¬ 
tions outside the English tradition. Here again, Pevs¬ 
ner was an authority they had to reject. Not only did 
his ‘Pioneers of the Modern Movement’ place a very 
high valuation on the English contribution to the 
rise of Modern Architecture, but he had also, in an 
essay published in April 1954, made a strong case 
for the continuing use of picturesque methods even 
in architects like Le Corbusier.' This article was 
consciously intended as a contribution to the public 
debate on the Picturesque then in process: it was 
written in reply to a radio talk in which Basil Taylor 
(an aesthetic philosopher then in vogue) had at¬ 
tacked the corrosive influence of picturesque prac¬ 
tice, and Pevsner provoked a spirited reply fro™ 
Alan Colquhoun, an important, though largely un¬ 
published, contributor to the architectural ideas o 
the younger generation. 6 

What this generation sought was historical justifi¬ 
cations for its own attitudes, and it sought them 
in two main areas of history — the traditions of Mo¬ 
dern Architecture itself, and the far longer traditions 
of classicism. In the first tradition, they laid particu¬ 
lar emphasis on the form-givers — not only on Le 
Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, but also on such 
figures as Rietveld (whose Schroder house was de¬ 
scribed by Peter Smithson as “the only truly canoni¬ 
cal modern building in Europe” — a striking and 
suggestive turn of phrase) or Hugo Haring, whose 
farm at Garkau they knew only through a tiny illus¬ 
tration in a relatively obscure book, Bruno Taut’s 
‘Modern Architecture’, of 1930. Their degree of so¬ 
phistication about the history of Modern Architec¬ 
ture was remarkable by world standards at the time; 

6 Taylor’s radio text was never printed. Pevsner's article ap¬ 
peared in 'Architectural Review’, April 1954, a correction from 
Taylor in the June issue, and Colquhoun's letter (with Pevsner’s 
reply) in 'Architectural Review’, July 1954. 


their sophistication about classicism was remarkable 
for its peculiar interests rather than its extent. Most 
of this generation had passed through some form 
of rundown Beaux-Arts training (though Peter Smith- 
son enrolled deliberately at the Royal Academy 
schools in London, in the hope of acquiring a more 
convincing form of classical expertise), all had had 
their interest in classicism confirmed by their read¬ 
ings in Le Corbusier, but all came very directly under 

I the influence of the brilliant revival of Palladian 
studies in England in the late FortiesVeither directly 
through Rudolf Wittkower and his book‘Architectural 
Principles in the Age of Humanism’, or through the 
teaching of his outstanding pupil, Colin Rowe. 

Like many others among them, Rowe believed tha t 
there was direct architectural relevance between the 

classical past~and the work of twentieth-centu ry 

masters. Thus, while Ruth Olitsky and John Voefcker 

could say (in ‘Architectural Design’ 7 ): “It is seldom 
that chance timing in the publication of two books 
has been so fortunate as in the case of Dr Wittko- 
wer’s ‘Architectural Principles in the Age of Human¬ 
ism’ and Le Corbusier’s ‘Modulor’ ... each book il- 
luminates the significance of the other, and through 
them both it becomes possible to see the origins of 
many issues which are very much alive among archi¬ 
tects at the present time,” 

Rowe was taking this bridge-building technique be¬ 
tween anc ient and modern m uch t wo in ¬ 
fluential essays (publi shed, ironically enough, in The 
Architectural Review’) entitled, ‘The Mathematics 
of the Ideal Villa’ (comparing Palladio and Le 
Corbusier) and ‘Mannerism and Modern Architec¬ 
ture’ (a wider search for precedents in what was 
then an intellectually fashionable period of art 
history). Somewhere in this amalgamation of ancient 
and modern exemplars of architectural order, there 
was thought to lie the one real and true architecture 
implied in the title of Le Corbusier’s first book ‘Vers 
une architecture’, the image of a convincing and 
coherent architecture that their elders had lost, and 
their teachers could no longer find. In spite of the 
accusations of Formalism levelled at them by their 
elders (some seemed to revel in the label — a small 
house by John Voelcker was published as an exam¬ 
ple of ‘The New Formalism’, with his approval, and 
a garland of references to Wittkower, Palladio and 
the Modulor) this generation of architects just ap¬ 
proaching the age of thirty at the moment when the 
Smithsons accepted the title Brutalist, turned con¬ 
sciously to the great form-givers of their time for 
inspiration - to Frank Lloyd Wright, but above all to 
Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. 

7 'Architectural Design', October 1954 - the tendency to combine 
all sorts of disparate ‘Classical’ authorities exemplified here, is 
entirely typical of the British attitude to ‘The Classical Tradi¬ 
tion’. In the British view, the importance of that tradition lay in 
its abstract intellectual disciplines (proportion, symmetry) and 
habits of mind (clarity, rationalism) far more than matters of de¬ 
tailed style. Thus, the revival of interest in the primitive Neo- 
Classicism of Lord Burlington’s Palladian Revival (1715 — 1750) led 
Voelcker to propose ‘Palladian’ plans for electrical generating 
stations, but the Palladianism was restricted to an abstract plan¬ 
ning diagram, and did not involve even room-shapes, let alone 
the detailing of the elevations. 


For illustrations see page 21-27 

2.1 Unite d’Habitation, Marseilles 

Behind all aspects of the New Brutalism, in Britain 
and elsewhere, lies one undisputed architectural 
fact: the concrete-work of Le Corbusier’s ‘Unite 
d’Habitation’ at Marseilles. And if there is one single 
verbal formula that has made the concept of Bru¬ 
talism admissible in most of the world’s western 
languages, it is that Le Corbusier himself described 
that concrete-work as ‘beton brut’. Word and build¬ 
ing stand together in the psychological history of 
post-war architecture, with an authority granted to 
few others concepts. In the early years of the fifties, 
few buildings anywhere in the world had such a hold 
on the imagination of younger architects, especially 
in the English-speaking countries, and — above all — 
in England itself. It was the largest single building 
of architectural importance in course of erection in 
Europe at the time, and it was the first genuinely 
post-war building, in the sense that its innovations 
separated it definitively from Modern Architecture 
before 1939. 

However naively Le Corbusier may have played into 
the hands of Marxist critics like Andte Lurpat by 
saying “It is the building I have wanted to create 
for thirty years”, the ‘Unite’ was unmistakably a build¬ 
ing of the fifties; it was not conceived in some re¬ 
worked version of a pre-war style (as were, for in¬ 
stance, the various second-hand ‘exercices de style’ 
of the buildings for the Festival of Britain). The cru¬ 
cial innovation of the ‘Unite’ was not its heroic scale, 
nor its originalities in sectional organisation, nor its 
sociological pretensions — it was, more than any¬ 
thing else, the fact that Le Corbusier had abandoned 
the pre-war fiction that reinforced concrete was a 
precise, ‘machine-age’ material. 

That fiction had been maintained, even in the thir¬ 
ties, by two main devices: either by rendering over 
the roughness and inaccuracies of concrete with 
plaster and paint; or by lavishing on it skilled labour 
and specialised equipment beyond anything the 
economics of the building industry normally permit¬ 
ted ... and even this did not always succeed, as 
faults and errors of execution in the work of Auguste 
Perret can show. Le Corbusier at Marseilles, under 
the pressure of economic and political circumstan¬ 
ces that forced him to abandon his original steel¬ 
framed design for the ‘Unite’, reacted with his custo¬ 
mary originality and acute sense of the mood of the 
hour, and decided to recognise that concrete starts 
life as a messy soup of suspended dusts, grits and 
slumpy aggregate, mixed and poured under condi¬ 
tions subject to the vagaries of weather and human 
fallibility, and left to harden in formwork whose car¬ 
pentry rarely (in France) attained the level of preci¬ 
sion required in the construction of a garden fence. 
Perret, or Freyssinet, under theirspecially favourable 
circumstances, might have been able to make it 
otherwise, but for Le Corbusier to expect anything 
better on an open site in southern France in the late 
forties, would have been an idle and irresponsible 

Yet his appraisal and resolution of this problem was 
the very opposite of defeatist. Out of a superficially 
discouraging situation, Le Corbusier conjured con¬ 
crete almost as a new material, exploiting its crudi¬ 
ties, and those of the wooden formwork, to produce 
an architectural surface of a rugged grandeur that 
seems to echo that of the well-weathered Doric col¬ 
umns of temples in Magna Graecia — it was not a 
question of “Architecture is that which makes mag¬ 
nificent ruins”, the concrete work at Marseilles start¬ 
ed as a magnificent ruin even before the building 
was completed. Nor was it simply a matter of ex¬ 
ploiting happy accident: the rough wooden form- 
work which was allowed to impress its grain, knots 
and blemishes on the face of the concrete was laid 
in carefully-planned patterns of planking, which 
broke the surface into large squares and thus cre¬ 
ated a kind of modern equivalent for rustication. The 
coarseness of the surface, the pattern of the plank- 
work and the scale of the building produced an ar¬ 
chitectural texture that was not only interesting in 
itself but, under the hard glare of the Mediterranean 
sun gave something of the effect of the coarse tra¬ 
vertine and giant scale of the apses of Michelange¬ 
lo’s St Peter’s in Rome, on which Le Corbusier had 
written some of the most emotional prose in ‘Vers 
une architecture’. 

The Brutalists were not alone in seeing that in this 
building, modern architecture had finally come to 
terms with what northern Europe loosely calls ‘The 
Mediterranean tradition’, a consummation humor¬ 
ously expressed in the form “the first modern build¬ 
ing that has room for cockroaches”. Without doubt, 
it is one of the buildings in which Le Corbusier enters 
most convincingly into the great and true tradition of 
architecture as he understands it; the building in 
which all the rhetorical consonances between mo¬ 
dern technology and ancient architecture in ‘Vers 
une architecture’ most nearly come true. Indeed, Mar¬ 
seilles is where the promise of that book’s title is 
fulfilled. The Brutalist generation in Britain never 
tired of pointing out the title given to the English 
translation — ‘Towards a New Architecture’ — falsi¬ 
fied Le Corbusier’s intentions (as did the original 
title of the German translation also; ‘Kommende Bau- 
kunst’). Reading ‘Vers une architecture’ as a sacred 
text, they knew that it promised not anew architec¬ 
ture, but simply architecture as it had always 
been and always would be, as Le Corbusier believed 
the term had been understood by Perret, by Phidias, 
by Mansart or Michelangelo. Right or wrong, Le Cor¬ 
busier had vouchsafed his younger readers a vision 
of a grandiose Mediterranean architectural tradition. 
An historian might object that they were in error in 
interpreting the ‘Unite’ in the light of a book written 
twenty years earlier, and yet that book offered a 
phrase that seemed a veritable key to the majestic 
and magisterial authority of Marseilles (and of all 
other good architecture as well): “L’Architecture, 
c’est, avec des matteres brutes etablir des rapports 
6mouvants”. To construct moving relationships out 
of brute materials was to be the central ambition of 



For illustrations see page 28-31 






2.2 Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago 

Yet the first completed building to carry the title of 
‘New Brutalist’ was not Corbusian; rather, it was the 
most precise imitation of the building style of Mies 
van der Rohe to have appeared outside the USA by 
that time, and in view of importance accorded in 
later developments to the presence of beton brut 
and other naturally surfaced materials, this puri¬ 
tanical exercise in the assembly of highly finished 
synthetic materials such as glass and steel, the 
‘Technological’ materials, may seem a surprising be¬ 
ginning. Yet the morality that approved the raw con¬ 
crete of the ‘Unit<§’ could equally well approve the 
use that Mies van der Rohe had made of steel, glass 
and brick in the campus buildings for the Illinois In¬ 
stitute of Technology at Chicago. 

In spite of what is commonly regarded as the ‘fine¬ 
drawn fastidiousness’ of Mies’s detailing, the hon¬ 
esty with which he handles steel for the solid mate¬ 
rial it is, can be compared with Le Corbusier’s 
honesty in demythologising concrete and recog¬ 
nising it for what it is. In spite of the rhetoric about 
steel that had been ringing in the ears of modern 
architects from the time of the Futurists onwards, 
very little of it had actually been made manifest to 
the eye in Modern Architecture. Apart from glazing 
bars, visible steol — and visible structural steel 
above all - had been restricted to a few very spe¬ 
cialised settings like Chareau’s ‘Maison de Verre’ 
in Paris. Under normal circurustances, the steel¬ 
work lurked invisibly behind the fireproofing required 
by local building ordinances. 

By an astute and casuistical reading of the local 
fire-regulations, Mies had been able to give an ex¬ 
posed frame to nearly all his structures on the NT 
campus, and thus offer the outlines of a grammar of 
visible steel framing. This grammar was, inevitably, as 
refined as that of the ‘Unite’ was coarse. Further¬ 
more, where the ‘Unite’ had, perforce, to glory in its 
technical imperfections, the buildings at I IT were 
full of flourishes of precision-craftsmanship, espec¬ 

ially in the welding. However, it should be remem¬ 
bered that welding is as natural to this concept of 
steelwork as is shuttering to concrete, and that fine 
craftsmanship in welding is readily available in the 
USA, where welding is as widely distributed a skill 
as are peasant crafts in Europe. It is doubtful if this 
aspect of NT was fully understood in Europe at the 
time, because the welding does not register very 
noticeably in the book and magazine illustrations 
that were virtually the only source of information to 
European architectural students, to whom currency 
restrictions still made the USA as remote and in¬ 
accessible as the moon. 

But they could still see that Mies had made an hon¬ 
est use of steel as a builders’ material, employing 
it, not as an abstract ideal of structural stiffness, but 
as a real substance having a surface, substance and 
character of its own, and structural habits as reliable 
and comprehensible as those of brick or masonry. 
And the steel is not only made visible, but the man¬ 
ner of its assembly is made manifest, so that the out- 


line grammar of it is filled out with detailed usages. 
As Mark Hartland Thomas wrote in ’Architectural De¬ 
sign’ 8 (at that time the preferred magazine of the 
younger generation) “Mies takes the elements in a 
piece of building, and sets them together in a man¬ 
ner that is most characteristic of themselves, and in 
these positions they make spaces and architecture”. 
Hartland Thomas had seen the buildings for himself 
and could appreciate the importance of their purely 
material qualities even in the details, but very few 
other contributors to the English architectural po¬ 
lemic had. Faced with usages such as Mies’s man¬ 
ner of turning the corners of the building with a 
richly plastic incident, they did not see the structural 
logic and material ingenuity of this detail. Instead 
they saw a philosophical problem in abstract aes¬ 
thetics: did the failure of the two wall planes to meet 
at the corner mean that Mies’s facades were to be 
read as endless, indeterminate? 

This question (meaningful, surely, only to those who 
know the buildings through such abstract represen¬ 
tations as plans and photographs, but not in the 
real?) was first raised by Richard Llewelyn-Davies 
in a paper given at the Architectural Association 9 , 
and could only have been propounded in the histo¬ 
rically sophisticated mental atmosphere of English 
architectural debate at the time, involving (as it 
does) reference to Mondriaan’s concept of the rec¬ 
tangle as an impure form bounded by lines which 
intersect but do not stop at the intersection. From 
this proposition, Llewelyn-Davies, like Gerhard Kail- 
man in an influential article on the impact of techno¬ 
logy which had appaearedi in a special issue of the 
‘Architectural Review’ on America, went on to the 
idea of an endless or indeterminate architecture, in 
which units of accomodation could be added or sub¬ 
tracted without altering the aesthetic quality. 

Though the Brutalists (and their even younger suc¬ 
cessors) have always been ready to flirt with this 
idea, they scouted its application to Mies van der 
Rohe, insisting on the regular symmetry of the com¬ 
position of the facades of the buildings at NT, and 
their axial planning. They also - and this was wish¬ 
ful thinking - believed that Mies made conscious 
use of the Golden Section in designing his build¬ 
ings. There has never been any convincing evidence 
from the Mies office to support this proposition, it 
was purely the transposition to one esteemed mas¬ 
ter, of the ‘Modulor’ mystique of the other. For the 
Modulor was an extremely lively topic at the time. 
In spite of the difficulties of using it in practice, it 
seemed to stand for a principle of reliable mathe- 
matica order against a sea of compromise and ar¬ 
chitectural irresponsibility, and it was easier to visu¬ 
alise such a proportional system against the back¬ 
ground of a seemingly flat and diagrammatic facade 
of the type found at NT, than to bend and fold it to 
fit the deeply modelled plasticity of the ‘Unite’. The 
fusion of the Mies-image with the Corb-image was 
an understandable, if philosophically reprehensible, 
step towards the creation of the kind of single vi¬ 
sion of a real and convincing architecture that this 
generation sought. 


0 'Architectural Design’, July 1952 

9 Llewelyn-Davies’ paper was reprinted in the ‘Journal of the 
Architectural Association', November 1951, and Kallman's article 
appeared in ‘Architectural Review' December 1950. 

For illustrations j 





page 32—40 

3 Secondary School, Hunstanton 

The first building completed in the world to be cal¬ 
led ‘New Brutalist’ by its architects, was the school 
at Hunstanton in Norfolk. In chronological fact, it 
had been designed even before Hans Asplund first 
uttered the words ‘Neo-Brutalist’ since it was the 
winning entry in a competition held in 1949. Not only 
was the award of the first prize to architects as young 
as the Smithsons then were, a remarkable eveni, but 
that it should go to so extreme a design was equally 
remarkable, since Denis Clarke-Hall, the assessor, 
was no extremist himself, although he had been one 
of the pioneers of modern school design in Britain. 

But, by the time the school was completed in 1954, 
the Smithsons had become avowed Brutalists, and 
the term New Brutalism was rapidly gaining cur¬ 
rency outside Britain — a circumstance which clear¬ 
ly disturbed some of those who were prepared to 
admire the school, but not the Brutalist programme 
which had subsequently become attached to it. The 
reason for the long delay between design and com¬ 
pletion was one of those spasmodic steel-shortages 
of the post-war epoch which constantly interrupted 
building-work, but whereas Le Corbusier had turned 
such a crisis to advantage at the ‘Unite’ the Smith- 
sons were too young and absolutist to consider 
scrapping the deeply pondered work that had been 
put into the steel-framed design for Hunstanton. It 
would be visible steel or nothing. 

While this insistence on visible steel gives a clear 
indication of the stylistic affiliations of Hunstanton, 
there are some striking and important differences 
from the buildings at IIT, differences which were 
largely, and understandably, overlooked at the time. 
To begin with, there is no risk of the facades being 
read as endless, in the Llewelyn-Davies sense. At 
the expense of some of Mies van der Rohe’s intel¬ 
lectual clarity, the building makes neat and unargu¬ 
able corners, and the closed symmetry of the com¬ 
position of the main elevations of both the school 
proper and its off-lying gymnasium is immediatly 
striking to the eye. This is particularly so in the 
gymnasium which, being a single volume, reveals 
the more clearly its symmetry inside and out. 

In the larger block housing the school proper, sym¬ 
metry persists, even if it is less obvious. The central 
multi-purpose hall is placed across the shorter axis, 
and is flanked by two open light-courts. The rest of 
the accommodation - service rooms, heavy and dirty 
areas, on the ground floor) classrooms on the floor 
above - is disposed in a large rectangular loop em¬ 
bracing these three central voids. The main eleva¬ 
tions are expressed in terms of room-sized areas of 
total glazing, or room-sized panels of blank white 
brickwork, either for privacy or to act as wind-brac¬ 
ing for the structure. However, the symmetry of the 
plan and of the elevational pattern, should not be 
seen as major architectural objectives of the design, 
however full the architects’ minds may have been of 
Wittkowerian or Palladian ideas. The formal clarity, 
like the insistence on almost total glazing of work¬ 
ing areas, is to be seen as part of a determination 

to make the whole conception of the building plain 
and comprehensible. No mystery, no romanticism, 
no obscurities about function or circulation. In this, 
it succeeded almost too well for a large section of 
architectural opinion in England that had become 
committed to empiricist romanticism — in spite of 
its manifest importance in the development of Eng¬ 
lish architectural ideas (the ‘Architectural Review 
called it ‘the most truly modern building in Britain’) 
it does not form part of the collection of slides as¬ 
sembled by J M Richards for the use of official lec¬ 
turers sent abroad by the British Council. 

But what caused even more profound shock, not only 
to architectural romantics but to educational senti¬ 
mentalists as well, was the attitude of the architects 
to the materials of which the school is constructed. 
The basic framing is of partly prewelded steel fra¬ 
mes, calculated according to the Plastic Theory 
(then an innovation in itself) for extreme economy. 
The floors and roof-slabs are built up of pre-cast 
concrete slabs, and these are left as exposed con¬ 
crete on the underside. Walls that are brick on the 
outside are brick (the same bricks) on the inside, 
fairfaced on both sides. Wherever one stands within 
the school one sees its actual structural materials 
exposed, without plaster and frequently without paint. 
The electrical conduits, pipe-runs and other services 
are exposed with equal frankness. This, indeed, is 
an attempt to make architecture out of the relation¬ 
ships of brute materials, but it is done with the very 
greatest self-denying restraint. 

Nothing is done to ‘dramatise’ the services (as was 
done in some of the open-ceilinged committee rooms 
at the United Nations building, New York, for in¬ 
stance) and the standard metal sections of which the 
frame and window-framing are assembled do not 
repay intense study in the ways that those of Mies’s 
work at IIT do. Whereas Mies builds up rich and 
complex mouldings, the Smithsons assemble their 
standard sections with a conspicuous understate¬ 
ment that makes it seem that it must have been they, 
and not Mies, who had said “I don’t want to be inter¬ 
esting, I want to be good”. 

In this, as in other aspects of the building, the 
Smithsons might be said to be conforming to basic 
patterns in English architectural psychology. In im¬ 
porting the Miesian style, and then appearing to of¬ 
fer to correct it (in some ways, Hunstanton is more 
frank about its materials and structure than any¬ 
thing by Mies) they may be compared to Colin 
Campbell offering to remove certain ‘irregularities 
from the style of Pailadio at the beginning of the 
Anglo-Palladian movement of the eighteenth cen¬ 
tury. But even more securely within engrained Eng¬ 
lish traditions is the insistence on a pure geometri¬ 
cal grid of horizontals and verticals, and an air of 
suppressed extremism, of gentlemanly‘bloody-mind¬ 
edness’ imprisoned within the grid. Not long after 
the building was completed, Nikolaus Pevsner gave 
a series of radio talks on ‘The Englishness of Eng¬ 
lish Art’, in which he drew attention to this barely 
suppressed geometrical extremism in both Gothic 
and Renaissance architecture in England, and cited 


Hardwick Hall (1590—1597) as a prime example of 
this tendency. He did not go on to note that Hard¬ 
wick’s architect had the same name as Hunstanton’s 
— though spelled Smythson — but other commenta¬ 
tors were not so slow off the mark. 

Those who damned the Hunstanton School for mer¬ 
ely ‘importing a foreign style’ missed its intense Eng- 
lishness. Those who damned — or praised — it for 
its Brutalism were on more secure ground. Even so, 
some influential critics doubted whether it was really 
an example of The New Brutalism. Thus Philip John¬ 
son, who probably knew the Smithsons and their 
background as well as anyone on the international 
scene, observed in the ‘Architectural Review’ at the 
end of a glowing critique of Hunstanton: 10 

Now that the Smithsons have turned against such 
formalistic and ‘composed’ designs toward an Adolf 
Loos type of Anti-Design which they call the New 
Brutalism (a phrase which is already being picked 
up by the Smithsons’ contemporaries to defend 

while the ‘Review’ added in a footnote: 

The architects themselves would certainly disagree 
with Mr Johnson’s separation of Hunstanton from 
the New Brutalist canon, even though the term had 
not been coined when the school was designed.” 

"7 * , 7 1I,on was becoming confused by the many 
things that happened to the Smithsons, to architec- 

]Zr u u and ‘ he WOr,d - and the *ord Brutalist 
■tself, which was being heavily overworked already 

" 'Architectural Review’, September 1954 




General view of the site 


Sections and plans of basic apartment type (scale 1:200) 

2 entrance 

3 living room and kitchen 

4 parents’ bedroom and bathroom 

5 cupboards and showor lor children 

0 children's room 

7 void over living room 


I ~ 

External balcony of an apartment 

16 (right) 

Close up Of balconies and brise-soleil 


ice area 

# m 

u n 1 





• ^BK 



i H fcl 'i¥' i wHWi 1 ■** — „. !■ ^^\i mm "‘ *^SHHJU 





■ ^— := : 




Rditips diid play-areas on roof 

Detail of pilotis 

*i BH 

4B ^n*T f ?~fa^"""SSMB—t IT * 

C\^\ _ m — 


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Chicago (Illinois, USA), Alumni 
Memorial Hall (Illinois Institute of Technology). 1945—47 

Entrance side 


Ground floor plan 





Alison and Peter Smithson; Hunstanton (England), 
Secondary School. 1949-54 


Block plan 
a gymnasium 
b caretaker’s garden 
c school garden 
d garden courts 
c main teaching-block 
f wall 

g games field 
h water-tower 
i bicycle sheds 
j forecourt 

k/l kitchen and chimney stack 
m house-craft room 
n workshops 
o embankment 
p car parking 

Interior of the central hall 


Exterior views 


Water-tower and service rooms 






Ground floor plan (scale 1:500) 

1 conservatory 

2 boys’ cloakrooms 

3 boys’ lavatories 

4 girls’ cloakrooms 

5 girls’ lavatories 

6 drying room 

7 theatrical store 

8 south exit 

9 covered wing 

10 chair-store 

11 caretaker 

12 garden crafts 

13 gardener 

14/15 staff lavatories 

16 staff room 

17 assistant head teacher 

18 head teacher 

19 secretary’s store 

20 secretary’s cubicle 

21 green room area 

22 dining area 

23 warden 

24 waiting room 

25 store 

26/27 medical suite 
28—32 house-craft suite 

33 bicycle sheds 

34 water-tower 

35 metal workshop 

36 carpentry workshop 

37 servery 

38 wash-up room 

39 main kitchen 

40 vegetable room 

41 dry food store 

42 larder 

43 kitchen supervisor 

44 -t'dult house-crafts 

45 nain hall 





Upper floor plan (scale 1:500) 

1 library 

2 book store 

3 cleaners 

4 classrooms 

7 crafts room 

8 house-crafts 

9 art room 

10 projection room 

11 supply room 

12 upper part of hall 

5 preparation room 

Gymnasium, ground floor plan (scale 1 

47 instructor’s room 

48 general store 

49 games kit store 

50 gymnasium space 


Gymnasium, upper floor plan (scale 1:500) 

13 changing rooms 

14 upper part of gymnasium space 

15 showers 




^ iew into garden court 


Washbasins in cloakroom 

For illustrations see page 42-53 


4.1 Progress to a-formalism 

As bas been said, H— *££££. 

published in a siUiation 'n ^, ^ h>d 

Brutalism were already . things said and 

ed some depthi of mean '^ widely recognised con¬ 
done, over and above he hrase s tiU ‘belonged’ 
nection with ‘beton brut _ h P ^ ^ thejr activities 
to the SmithsonSi f 10 ^ 6 ’ giving distinctive quali- 

above all others a Outstanding among 

ties to the concept of Bn^^n 'Parallel of Life 
‘^thr^ competition projects, none 

of which had proved successfu^ chosen after 

‘Parallel of Life an ono f so me hundred photo- 

much debate for an exhibd d . p ig53 by the 

graphic images which = photographer 

S3.»"• in cdl^»J3, Edouardo Pao- 

Nigel Henderson and toes v exhibition m a 

13. More »£££« «»' 

later chapter, s,nce *L en The New Brutalism and 
of the connections b m the other arts. Suffice it 

analogous manifestation^ ^ almost exclusively in 

to say here that Pa t hroDology and technology 

Images drawn from ^hropol^ ^ ^ art galle 

and that, as ob ) ect ® temporary Arts) they were a 
(The Institute of Co P f conV entional ideas 
deliberate flouting, "<* ' concept of a 

of ‘beauty’, but also of the^^ of violence 

■good photograph • Ma y ^ anti . aes thetic views of 
and destruction, d.sto * & coarse gra iny texture 

the human figure. • by the collaborators a 

which was clearly regarded ^ coarse textures 
one of their mam v "% uper ficial cri, tics to relate 
were, obviously, easy P brick surfaces m Huns- 

to the exposed concre that th e other quah- 

tanton, and 8 JJ, an intentional part o 

ties of the exhibition ^ ^ damned as 

Hunstanton’s archi in the sense of sub 

antihuman, -^'"^tov-liaa 'parti-pris' can be 
human. Although a ons , aught on the Smithsons, 

detected in much of th crit icism in arch.tec- 

the collapse of Ang ^ c)eared th e vision of 
ture has not in eve y damn ed out . 0 f-hand 

critics, and Hunstanton those who have ne ver 

• m these terms critical objections were 

seen it). Furthermore, Smithson schemes, 

projected forward onto Respectively on to 

however ^signs about to be discus- 

the three competition 


Coventry Crf-W * 533 

was won b, Sir Baad SP>n 

version of a traditional 9 P submitted 

number o, "t ^ic.l iand.ncy, though 

designs of a much submm6d by the Smith- 

I few were as radical a a vas t square space 

sons. Basically, h ed ‘anticlastic’ roof, sup- 

covered by a sadd Within this space 

_^ „♦ two opposite corners, vv 

hardlv be called a centralised plan, its intense for- 
man Reveals th. direct influence of Wittkoweds 
Pal I ad i an studies, and the use of a simplified geo- 
me deal grid to dispose the parts suggests a so a 
Ttudy of Le Corbusier’s ‘Traces regulators . Al¬ 
though no direct influence from European liturgical 

had some’considerable influence °n the entries sub- 

Olic CathedS' Lithsons was concerned, the im- 


direction at this early date (1951) was to cost them 
the support of that faction whose repW to the^^ ^ 

« o mntributor to a discussion on 


New Brutalism. +hp lack of rigour 

u represented a revolt again ... f ,. 

a nlpar thinking, the romantic pasticheries 



W ! h ° le f " iu p Smithsons were from regarding Beaux- 
Arts classicism as the only antidote to 
and clear thinking, was to become clear - for those 
who cared to look - in their next two major p 

Golden Lane housing development for the city of 
London was put out to competition in 1952, and was 
won by Chamberlin Powell and Bon. It "as the first 
major competition for a housing scheme for some 
years and attracted a great number of entries, of 

considerable variety both in 
ral method - there was even one strict Zhd 
exercise in ‘People’s Detailing’. The winning design 
was a fairly routine exercise in Mainstream Modern¬ 
ism with the usual mixture of high and low blocks, 
aTheT elegantly styled in a formalistic manner, but 
he Smithsons and some of the other younger en¬ 
trants again revealed a much more radical approach. 

" It Will be observed the Fo ' m ®[ f(j h r “ a( , T ,^ mean ings to be 
in this argument: ‘Informa an ’ f (h preS ent argu- 

allocated to the three words m the context of _ ,1^, sym . 
ment can be crudely distingmshe other very explicit 

metrically composed, or ordered oy 

abstract geometrical discipline; visual 

-informal', asymmetrical and subject to some 
discioline (such as Picturesque compos,t 



The radicalism lies in an attempt to see what they 
were designing as a complete environment for hu¬ 
man beings, not just the provision of a certain num¬ 
ber of bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and so forth, 
packaged into an acceptable architectural composi¬ 
tion. An awakening interest in the real life of the 
cities, something of an ecologist’s approach to urban 
man (though they were not yet using the word 
‘habitat’) influenced by the work of sociologists like 
Wilmot and Young, was eventually to become one 
of the mainstays of Brutalist planning theory, but at 
Golden Lane it is still subservient to the manifest 
influence of Le Corbusier and the ‘Unite’ at Marseil" 
les. This appears clearly enough in the roof-struc¬ 
tures of the Smithson project, but what is equally 
noticeable is the attempt to ‘rectify’ the errors of 
the older master. The ‘rue interieure’ - that dark 
corridor without natural lighting — was always the 
weakest point of the ‘Unite’ section, and at Golden 
Lane the Smithsons moved it to the exterior of the 
lock, enlarged it to a sizable pedestrian walk twelve 
eet wide, and denominated it ‘street deck’. This 
concept was not the Smithson’s private property - 
't appears in one or two student projects of the time 
(possibly under Smithson influence) including anoth¬ 
er entry for Golden Lane, which was to be, in the 
en j of greater consequence than the Smithson 
en , ry ‘ Was sch eme submitted by Jack Lynn 
and Ivor Smith which, though equally unsuccessful 
a olden Lane, was instrumental in their app 0 '"*' 
me "* *° the s taff of the City Architect in Sheffield, 
a ? ? ,*° des '9 n and construction of the larg® s 
treet-deck building completed to date at Park Hill- 
^ertcun philosophical, psychological and architectural 
ns equen ces 0 f the street deck concept need to 
sn e ^ ere: the deck was intended to function 
str^ y u an L d ps y chol °gically in the manner of the 
thp m W IC * n wor ^' n 9 class areas in Britain — |S 
tinnai ai ? f° rum °f communication, the tra 1 

p,ay f°und for children, and the only publ-c 
sociahT*^ * or mass meetings and large-sca e 

innlv y f Was *° ^ u ^'l these functions convinc 

and h t Street deck would hav e to be continuous 

necp<f aC f Very part of the development — if it was 
would Sar T t0 down to ground level at any point i 
~ UCe th * deck, psychologically, to the status 
waq y .° f a < ? orr,dor inside a building. This continuity 
x- gained by putting the whole of the accommoda- 

extensions to Sheffield University were the sub 
of a competition (won by a routine moderr 
s-box style entry from Gollins Melvin Ward anc 


Partners) which also attracted a number of very ex¬ 
treme entries from younger architects, including a 
compact and sophisticated variation on Corbusian 
themes by James Stirling and a project by the 
Smithsons that seemed to be a deliberate affront to 
everything that was commonly regarded as archi¬ 
tecture. At first sight the grouping of the blocks of 
accommodation is as loose and unrigorous as any 
Picturesque composition by the Brutalists’ despised 
elders, but whereas Picturesque compositional tech¬ 
niques were normally used to build up images of 
rich and confusing abundance, the effect of the ar¬ 
rangement offered by the Smithsons appears in the 
drawing to be aloof, rebarbative and deliberately 
anti-graceful, replacing the sweetness and senti¬ 
mentality of the Picturesque with a blunt and un¬ 
compromising statement of structure and function in 
every part. Above all, it made a plain statement of 
the facts of circulation at ground level, on elevated 
street-decks, or on pedestrian bridges spanning be¬ 
tween one building and the next (usually in conjunc¬ 
tion with duct-bridges for service-runs, thus empha¬ 
sising that human beings are not the only bodies that 
circulate). Because of this flourishing display of the 
. circulation system, the unifying principle of the de¬ 
sign — in the absence of any comprehensible visual 
aesthetic, - becomes the connectivity of the circula¬ 
tion. Hence the use of the term ‘topological’ to 
characterise the design, a term not applied by the 
Smithsons themselves, though Smithson himself 
admitted more than once at this period that he found 
topological considerations of this sort a growing 
preoccupation in his larger designs. 

The extremism of this Sheffield project was widely 
felt at the time — it has no conceivable precedent, 
except that the relationship of structure to glazing 
may have been remotely suggested by the one of the 
works of that great British anti-aesthete — Sir Owen 
Williams — the‘Dry’ manufacturing block (but not the 
well-known ‘Wet’ factory alongside) of the Boots 
chemical plant at Beeston, Nottinghamshire. For the 
Smithsons, the anti-formalism of Sheffield was also 
an extreme point; nothing later from their drawing 
board has quite the same ‘je-m’en-foutiste’ quality, 
as if they had completed some private voyage of 
exploration into the anti-architectural and were now 
turning back. Nevertheless, the extremism of the 
gesture was profoundly appreciated by the more 
dissatisfied members of the generation of students 
who were beginning to look to the Brutalists for 
leadership, and there ensued a tradition of wild 
visionary town-planning projects, cast in this topolo¬ 
gical mode, and even one or two major building de¬ 
signs, such as the Fun Palace project of Cedric 
Price 13 , one of the most complete ‘anti’-buildings 
ever projected in Europe. But this was not the di- 
43 rection in which the New Brutalism as an interna- 

Alison and Peter Smithson, tional movement was now headed. That direction 

Edouardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson; was obscurely suggested by the first building OUt- 

London (England^, Exhibition Parallel of side g r j^ a j n 0 f w hl c h anyone felt required to ask ‘Is 

Three views of the version at the institute »t Brutalist?’ - Louis Kahn’s art-gallery building for 

Of Contemporary Arts Yale University. 

13 The 'Fun Palace', promoted by the left-wing impresario and 
theatrical producer, Joan Littlewood, is essentially a project for 
a gigantic machine fulfilling the functions of a number of build¬ 
ing types in the realm of entertainment and community activities. 
Operationally it consists of a system of cranes, which can draw 
from stock a variety of components (mechanical, structural, en¬ 
vironmental) from which are assembled covered or open spaces 
for all types of spectacles, sports, artistic and recreational acti¬ 
vities. These structures are then dismantled when the ground- 
space is required for other spaces for other activities, and new 
ones are built, on a day-to-day basis. There are thus no perma¬ 
nent architectural spaces inside, and no permanent architectural 
volumes inside, the structure for the gantry cranes and mechani¬ 
cal services being the only constant element. 


For illustrations see page 54-55 

4.2 Yale Art Gallery, New Haven 

The introduction of the Yale Art Gallery into the Bru- 
tahst canon was first suggested by Ian McCallum 
(then executive editor of the ‘Architectural Review’) 

rW 5 ’ bUt '* Kad a ' ready Caught the e ve of 
the Brutal,st connection in England. Not only did it 

appear to share their preoccupations and interests 

but it also marked a clear break with existing US 

trad ltl ons m Modern Architecture, whether native 

and romantic, or imported and rationalistic. In this 

circumstance, it is not surprising that it should be 

LTh\" ays ' 081 “ tenlali « »HtmtaJ : 

though ,t ,s suprising enough that a work by a man 
twenty years older than the Smithsons should be so 
1 'Th Hunstanton it has a formal and axfal 
P a . ( . rat ^ er . more s °Phisticated in its planninq tool 
and its basic aesthetic leans heavily on the frank 
expression of structure and materials Thirl k 

concrete space-frame floor tetra hedral 

tween fairly widely™ .! cone 1, ' T Spannln 9 b " 
the English Brutalists of the Hunstanto^hasMlTj^ 
is a sense of appeal to basic architectural ndn^i 
even to academic principles (as in the sequent 
regular geometrical forms speared ™ tu f 
axis) and there is also an air of deliberated 6 ^!! 
for customary good architectural manners 
'ally ln the way the whole block turns its harU P fu' 
public street with a blank brick wa t h! t ^ 
nothing about the interior except lh , 

The whole build ng has a Dowerf .,1 <• ? s ‘ 

but it is an image 9 

memory after one has left the buildinn u b 6S fr ° m 
actual presence is both mysterious 9 ’ ' tS 

Perhaps ’irresolute' mighTbJ 7Zn ld ™ Uddlad - 
‘muddled’ for some aspects of the desian'F 
stance, the glazing of the courtyard wall 4 n ° P m " 
below the quality and inventiveness of 8 WS 
the building. It is a functionally adequate anYhol ,°I 
solution to the problem, but its hol*r l 
in its tranh admission oi Kah^ ^ 

express”^ 0 the° Tt'iml S' 9 '“ S ' Tte 
the fact that, for reasons ot il 

7 <*“'■*»» .PParenTtSSe 9 :?;: 

floor structure became, as built a svstom t u 
beams instead. ’ SyStem of braca d 

But this nicety of structural mathematics rtr. 
alter the visual fact that these structures ann 6S " 0t 
space-frames to the eye, and when a floor is 
ed of screens and clutter, as durino the n 
of an exhibition, they are impressive bo 
.ecturai artefact, and as a me, S' 7“- 
and scale to the spaces they cover. ThZh 1 
design is everywhere less lucid than at h t 9h h ® 
its mysteries contribute to its qualitv ^ nstanton > 
tectural experience. The concealmelt o fZ Z 
withm an almost unpierced drum of concrete heiotf 8 

“ g s ^ 
triangle between one floor 

tween sheer walls of concrete, unmodulated by 
anything beyond the vertically planked shutter-pat¬ 
tern of the concrete, the impress of the fixing studs 
that held the shuttering together, and the horizontal 
joint at each floor-level, marking the height of one 
lift of the shuttering. It is a classic demonstration of 
absolute Brutalist truth to a particular method of 
construction, and has the added historical impor¬ 
tance of being the most extended demonstration to 
d ate, by anyone other than Le Corbusier, of the 
aesthetics of ‘b<§ton brut’. 

But the fact remains that this, the high point of 
Kahn’s architectural achievement at that time, is 
conducted in secret, so to speak, and contributes 
nothing to the visual image of the rest of the build¬ 
ing. n a somewhat similar manner, the axial parti of 
. Plan remains a ‘secret’. On the street elevation 
c °ncealed, on the courtyard side it is 
x , 6 j as y mme trical central panel of the 
art a ?\\ ^ the n0rmal use of the building as an 

tributes 6 !^! e , exact ec l ui Partition of the plan con- 
visual p P 0 ,ts factional organisation or the 

visual expenence of the visitor. 

goodlS 6 " 8 may make Kahn ’ s Ya,e Art Ga,lery a 

the prespn+ n 9 +° l ' a k ad one » but this is not the point at 

cern is thi** •* ^ ° f . the argument. What is of con- 
to the arm * a fbat is so deviously devoted 

be assimilated'to 68 ° f aCademic classicism could 

that now in !? Y * c °ncept of The New Brutalism 
the Sheffield 6 6 •*^ at ant '' aca demic a-formality of 
mean? The w ^ at c °uld the concept now 

tributed the e| mi S ° ns ’ conve niently enough, con- 
1955 issue of.. em ul ntS ° f an answe r to the January 
Architectural Design’. 


4.3 Manifesto 

For illustrations see page 56-60, 78-79 

The Smithsons had been contributing statements 
and letters on The New Brutalism to the English 
architectural magazines ever since the publication 
of their projected house in Soho, and continued to 
do so well into 1956. Although these miscellaneous 
literary activities had contributed some resounding 
rhetorical phrases - “We live on moron-made cit¬ 
ies!” etc — to the discussion, there had been no 
extended statement of aims and orientation until the 
effects of a change in the editorial staff of 'Archi¬ 
tectural Design’ began to take full effect in 1954. 
During the course of the previous year Theo Crosby, 
who had been associated with the Smithsons and 
friends of theirs, such as Edouardo Paolozzi, joined 
the staff of ‘Architectural Design’, and was able to 
swing the magazine’s policy toward the interests of 
the younger generation, with a conscious appeal to 
student opinion. The Brutalist/Palladian wing of opin¬ 
ion benefited in the creation of a publishing outlet 
for their views, and none profited better than the 

The first major manifestation was in August 1954, 
when Peter Smithson contributed a study of recent 
architecture in Holland. In view of his predilections, 
it is not surprising that van den Broek and Bakema 
emerged as the heroes of this piece, with illustra¬ 
tions of van den Broek’s house and the Lijnbaan 
scheme. But equally conspicuous is the fact that 
Smithson was far more familiar with the history of 
Modern Architecture than were the more senior mem¬ 
bers of the profession who had previously contributed 
to the magazine. Not only is Mondriaan discussed 
(familiar to British architects in this connection be¬ 
cause of his sojourn in London) but also less well- 
publicised figures such as van Doesburg and Kurt 
Schwitters (the latter’s stay in Britain had left him as 
unknown as when he arrived) and, above all, Gerrit 
Thomas Rietveld is given an importance strikingly at 
variance with the general opinion of him in the bulk 
of architectural writing at the time. There were 
specific local and contemporary reasons for this: 
Rietveld was cast in the role of the guiding father- 
figure so painfully absent from the British scene. 

”... Rietveld created the incomparable house at 
Utrecht 1923-24 - the only truly canonical modern 
building in Europe. Holland has therefore a living 

great master.” 

Smithson here spoke for all the young architects in 
Britain, left leaderless by the failure of nerve of an 
elder generation psychologically more separated 
from them than was the case in any continental 
country where invasion and occupation had created 
more obvious rifts between generations. Almost un¬ 
intentionally, the Brutalists had to fill this vacuum 
of leadership, and assume the role of guides and 
mentors that was almost thrust upon them by stu¬ 
dents, who could write 14 : 

“For myself, and nearly all the young architects I 
meet, ‘New Brutalism 1 stands for an architectural 

14 Letter from William Cowburn in ‘Architectural Design’, 

June 1957 

ideal which is very acceptable: we would have to 
say these things (ourselves) if the Smithsons did 
not do so ...” 

But the Smithsons would have to say a good deal 
more than the things that were contained in the 
statement of January 1955 before they could fulfil 
the role of leaders. Like all their public statements 
it represents almost exclusively their personal pre¬ 
occupations at the moment of putting pen to paper, 
and was virtually incapable of standing by itself with¬ 
out gloss or explanation, and in this case a pre¬ 
amble was provided (apparently by Crosby himself) 
which attempted to fix an historical context that 
would establish the relevance of their views. The 
complete document reads as follows. 

The New Brutalism 

“In 1954 a new and long overdue explosion took 
place in architectural theory. For many years since 
the war we have continued in our habit of debasing 
the coinage of M Le Corbusier, and had created a 
style — ‘Contemporary’ — easily recognisable by its 
misuse of traditional materials and its veneer of 
‘modern’ details, frames, recessed plinths, decora¬ 
tive piloti (sic). The reaction appeared at last in 
the shape of Hunstanton School (by Alison and Pe¬ 
ter Smithson) an illustration of the ‘New Brutalism’. 

The name is new: the method, a revaluation of 
those advanced buildings of the twenties and thirt¬ 
ies whose lessons (because of a few plaster-cracks) 
have been forgotten. As well as this, there are 
certain lessons of the formal use of proportion (from 
Professor Wittkower) and a respect forthe sensuous 
use of each material (from the Japanese). Naturally, 
a theory which takes the props from the generally 
accepted and easily produced ‘Contemporary’ has 
generated a lot of opposition. All over the country 
we have been asked to explain the new message. 

In the hope of provoking as many readers as pos¬ 
sible to think more deeply about the form and pur¬ 
pose of their art, we asked the Smithsons, as pro¬ 
phets of the movement, to supply a definition or 
statement which, somethat edited, appears below.” 
“Our belief that the New Brutalism is the only pos¬ 
sible development forth is moment from the Mo¬ 
dern Movement, stems not only from the knowledge 
that Le Corbusier is one of its practitioners (start¬ 
ing with the ‘beton brut’ of the Unite) but because 
fundamentally both movements have used as their 
^yardstick Japanese architecture, its underlying idea, 
principles and spirit. 

Japanese architecture seduced the generation span¬ 
ning 1900, producing, in Frank Lloyd Wright, the 
open plan and an odd sort of constructed decora¬ 
tion; in Le Corbusier the purist aesthetic — the slid¬ 
ing screens, continuous space, the power of white 
and earth-colours; in Mies, the structure and screens 
as absolutes. Through Japanese architecture the 
longings of the generation of Gamier and Behrens 
found FORM. 

But, for the Japanese, their FORM was only part of 
a general conception of Life, a sort of reverence 
for the natural world and, from that, for the materials 
of the built world. 


4.2 Yale Art Gallery, New Haven 

For illustrations see page 54-55 

The introduction of the Yale Art Gallery intothe Bru- 
tahst canon was first suggested by Ian McCallum 
(then executive editor of the ‘Architectural Review’) 

tte Brut I 95 ?’ bUt '* Had a ' ready Caught the eye of 
the Brutalist connection in England. Not only did it 

a p pear to share their preoccupations and interests 

ut it also marked a clear break with existinq US 

traditions in Modern Architecture whether / r S 

and romantic, or imported and ,7H ' X 

circumstance, it is not suqarising that it should hi 

;L7i.7:ip a :s rst; r;„rr “ : 

expression of structure and material/-™, th fra " k 
a radical structural innovation t mat'Ju ' S ® Ven 
use of Plastic Theorv in th- tc ^ ^ unstan ton’s 

concrete space-frame floor-shuctmea'sD* 6 *’^ 6 ’!’ 3 ’ 

tween fairly widely set concrete 9 be ‘ 

the English Brutalists of the Hunstantn mn h S ' With 
is a sense of appeal to basic architectural D aSe ’. th . ere 
even to academic principles (as in the pnnc 'P les . 
regular geometrical forms speared° f 
axis) and there is also an air of deliberate dis^ 0 ^!! 
for customary good architectural manners 9 
ially in the way the whole block turns itsh \ eS9ec ' 
public street with a blank brick wa tSat °" ^ 
nothing about the interior exceot the ! , reveals 

The whole building has 

but ^ i® an image that the mind asTembl 
memory after one has left the buildinq be ° m 
actual presence is both mysterious 9 ’ j Use its 
Perhaps ’irresolute’ might be a bette nd t mUddled- 
‘muddled’ for some aspects of the / - term than 

stance, the g,aping of 5,. co7a rt “,7 7 
below the quality and inventiveness 0 f V* * T" 
the building. It is a functionally adeouat Vu^ ° f 
solution to the problem but its u 9 ate and honest 
in its frartk admLion oi K.hS 77 
a better way of covering this facade with da's “’7 
expression of the structural svsfpm • th 9 f The 
the fact that, fo, reasons 7^ '^ H- 

ing calculations the apparent SD ! ro 9 1 eengmeer - 
Jeer structure became, ."a built .'“,,'17! “» 

beams instead. ’ ystem of braced 

But this nicety of structural mathematics ^ 
alter the visual fact that these stmetur/s a 068 " 0t 
space-frames to the eye, and when a fl PP ® ar 3S 
ed of screens and clutter, as durinq the '® C '® ar ' 
of an exhibition, they are impressive boET 93 ^ 0 " 
tectural artefacts and as a means of**-** ardli ' 
and scale to the spaces they cove Th '" 9 
design ,s everywhere less lucid than at HunT ^ 

within an almost „„p ierMd drumoTcmcmte'he^ 
ens one’s awareness of tho „ terete, height- 

ing the stairs, three Lor, 77"“ 

triangle between „„e flop, a„ d 9 , he n"™damg"!.* 

tween sheer walls of concrete, unmodulated by 
anything beyond the vertically planked shutter-pat¬ 
tern of the concrete, the impress of the fixing studs 
that held the shuttering together, and the horizontal 
joint at each floor-level, marking the height of one 
lift of the shuttering. It is a classic demonstration of 
absolute Brutalist truth to a particular method of 
construction, and has the added historical impor¬ 
tance of being the most extended demonstration to 
da te, by anyone other than Le Corbusier, of the 
aesthetics of ‘b 6 ton brut’. 

But the fact remains that this, the high point of 
a n s architectural achievement at that time, is 
oon ucted in secret, so to speak, and contributes 
oo ing to the visual image of the rest of the build¬ 
ing. n a somewhat similar manner, the axial parti of 
ne plan remains a ‘secret’. On the street elevation 
concealed, on the courtyard side it is 
fac d 6 ^ ,^ e as y mm ctrical central panel of the 

art a d! ^ !" the normal use of the building as an 
trihutoo ei rli!^ e GXact e quipartition of the plan con- 
visual * 6 *° functional organisation or the 
Thes exper,ence ° f the visitor. 
good e buiM ters may make Kahn ’ s Ya,e Art G a,,er y a 

the prespn+ n9 ^ 0ra one » but this is not the point at 

cern is this! if IV argument - what is of con : 

to the nro * ^ Ulld| ng that is so deviously devoted 

be a ssimi. a ?;? ,eS ° f academic classicism could 
that now inclVV ° 0nCept of The New Brutalism 
the Sheffi e |d U 6 • anb -academic a-formality of 
mean? The W ^ at cou * d tb e concept now 

tributed the el™ S ° ns ’ conv ®niently enough, con- 
1 955 issue of‘A em u e ? tS an answer to the January 
Architectural Design’. 


For illustrations see page 56-60, 78-79 


4.3 Manifesto 

The Smithsons had been contributing statements 
and letters on The New Brutalism to the English 
architectural magazines ever since the publication 
of their projected house in Soho, and continued to 
do so well into 1956. Although these miscellaneous 
literary activities had contributed some resounding 
rhetorical phrases - “We live on moron-made cit¬ 
ies!” etc — to the discussion, there had been no 
extended statement of aims and orientation until the 
effects of a change in the editorial staff of ‘Archi¬ 
tectural Design’ began to take full effect in 1954. 
During the course of the previous year Theo Crosby, 
who had been associated with the Smithsons and 
friends of theirs, such as Edouardo Paolozzi, joined 
the staff of ‘Architectural Design’, and was able to 
swing the magazine’s policy toward the interests of 
the younger generation, with a conscious appea o 
student opinion. The Brutalist/Palladian wing of opin¬ 
ion benefited in the creation of a publishing outlet 
for their views, and none profited better than the 

Smithsons. . . 

The first major manifestation was ,n August 1954 
when Peter Smithson contributed a study of recent 
architecture in Holland. In view of his predilections, 
it is not surprising that van den Broek and Bakema 
emerged as the heroes of this piece, with illustra¬ 
tions of van den Broek’s house and the Lijnbaan 
scheme. But equally conspicuous is the fact that 
Smithson was far more familiar with the history of 
Modern Architecture than were the more senior mem¬ 
bers of the profession who had previously contributed 
to the magazine. Not only is Mondriaan discussed 
(familiar to British architects in this connection be¬ 
cause of his sojourn in London) but also less well- 
publicised figures such as van Doesburg and Kurt 
Schwitters (the latter’s stay in Britain had left him as 
unknown as when he arrived) and, above all. Gem 
Thomas Rietveld is given an importance strikingly at 
variance with the general opinion of him in the bulk 
of architectural writing at the time. There were 
specific local and contemporary reasons for this: 
Rietveld was cast in the role of the guiding father- 
figure so painfully absent from the British scene. 

« Rietveld created the incomparable house at 
I Itrprht 1923-24 - the only truly canonical modern 
building in Europe. Holland has therefore a living 

great master.” ... . . 

Smithson here spoke for all the young architects in 

Britain left leaderless by the failure of nerve of an 
elder generation psychologically more separated 
from them than was the case in any continental- 
country where invasion and occupation had created 
more obvious rifts between generations. Almost un¬ 
intentionally, the Brutalists had to fill this vacuum 
of leadership, and assume the role of guides and 
mentors that was almost thrust upon them by stu¬ 
dents, who could write ,4 : 

“For myself, and nearly all the young architects I 
meet, ’New Brutalism’ stands for an architectural 

>* Letter from William Cowburn in 'Architectural Design’, 

June 1957 

ideal which is very acceptable: we would have to 
say these things (ourselves) if the Smithsons did 
not do so ...” 

But the Smithsons would have to say a good deal 
more than the things that were contained in the 
statement of January 1955 before they could fulfil 
the role of leaders. Like all their public statements 
it represents almost exclusively their personal pre¬ 
occupations at the moment of putting pen to paper, 
and was virtually incapable of standing by itself with¬ 
out gloss or explanation, and in this case a pre¬ 
amble was provided (apparently by Crosby himself) 
which attempted to fix an historical context that 
would establish the relevance of their views. The 
complete document reads as follows. 

The New Brutalism 
“In 1954 a new and long overdue explosion took 
place in architectural theory. For many years since 
the war we have continued in our habit of debasing 
the coinage of M Le Corbusier, and had created a 
style — ‘Contemporary’ — easily recognisable by its 
misuse of traditional materials and its veneer of 
‘modern’ details, frames, recessed plinths, decora¬ 
tive piloti (sic). The reaction appeared at last in 
the shape of Hunstanton School (by Alison and Pe¬ 
ter Smithson) an illustration of the ‘New Brutalism’. 

The name is new: the method, a revaluation of 
those advanced buildings of the twenties and thirt¬ 
ies whose lessons (because of a few plaster-cracks) 
have been forgotten. As well as this, there are 
certain lessons of the formal use of proportion (from 
Professor Wittkower) and a respect forthe sensuous 
use of each material (from the Japanese). Naturally, 
a theory which takes the props from the generally 
accepted and easily produced ‘Contemporary’ has 
generated a lot of opposition. All over the country 
we have been asked to explain the new message. 

In the hope of provoking as many readers as pos¬ 
sible to think more deeply about the form and pur¬ 
pose of their art, we asked the Smithsons, as pro¬ 
phets of the movement, to supply a definition or 
statement which, somethat edited, appears below.” 
“Our belief that the New Brutalism is the only pos¬ 
sible development forth is moment from the Mo¬ 
dern Movement, stems not only from the knowledge 
that Le Corbusier is one of its practitioners (start¬ 
ing with the ‘beton brut’ of the Unite) but because 
fundamentally both movements have used as their 
^yardstick Japanese architecture, its underlying idea, 
principles and spirit. 

Japanese architecture seduced the generation span¬ 
ning 1900, producing, in Frank Lloyd Wright, the 
open plan and an odd sort of constructed decora¬ 
tion; in Le Corbusier the purist aesthetic — the slid¬ 
ing screens, continuous space, the power of white 
and earth-colours; in Mies, the structure and screens 
as absolutes. Through Japanese architecture the 
longings of the generation of Gamier and Behrens 
found FORM. 

But, for the Japanese, their FORM was only part of 
a general conception of Life, a sort of reverence 
for the natural world and, from that, for the materials 
of the built world. 


It is this reverence for materials — a realisation of 
the affinity which can be established between build¬ 
ings and man — which is at the root of the so-called 
'New Brutalism. 

It has been mooted that the Hunstanton School, 
which probably owes as much to the existence of 
Japanese architecture as to Mies, is the first realisa¬ 
tion of the New Brutalism in England. 

This particular handling of materials, not in the craft 
sense of Frank Lloyd Wright, but in intellectual 
appraisal, has been ever present in the Modern 
Movement, as, indeed, familiars of the early Ger¬ 
man architects have been prompt to remind us. 

What is new about the New Brutalism among mo¬ 
vements is that it finds its closest affinities, not in 
past architectural style, but in peasant dwelling 
forms. It has nothing to do with craft. We see archi¬ 
tecture as the direct result of a way of life. 

1954 has been a key year. It has seen American 
advertising rival Dada in its impact of overlaid im- 
agery; that automotive masterpiece the Cadillac 
convertible, parallel-with-the-ground (four eleva¬ 
tions) classic box on wheels; the start of a new way 
of thinking by CIAM; the revaluation of the work 
of Gropius; the repainting of the villa at Garches?’ 

-- Knowingness or me pica.-- - 

which can stand as a potted intellectual biography 
of the Crosby age group but is already out of date 
as far as the Brutalists’ attitude to classical propor¬ 
tion was concerned. Already at the time of ‘Parallel 
of Life and Art’ Peter Smithson had said “We are 
no going to talk about proportion and symmetry , 
and it will be noted that neither topic is mentioned 
in the statements above. It was also a regrettable— 
but probably inevitable - irony of architectural his- 
tory that many Brutalist usages should become part 
of the repertoire of cliches that kept ‘Contemporary’ 
a ive as a style’, and within three or four years of 
this preamble being written. 

In the Smithsons’ statements it is the references to 
Japan and peasant building that are the most con¬ 
fusing and/or misleading. Neither of them had been 

.? + a ^ a » n and the architecture is not 

that of Mayekawa/Tange school, largely as that was 

to feature in the later history of Brutalism. The 
Smithsons’ Japan was the Japan of Bruno Taut’s 
book on Japanese houses (Houses and People of 
Japan Tokyo, 1937) and illustrations of the Katsura 
etached palace (A revealing footnote to the Smith- 

sons third paragraph reads “The Japanese film ‘Gate 

of Hell showed houses, a monastery and palace, in 
colour for the first time.”) and serves to illustrate the 
sense of the sudden discovery of a whole culture 
capaUe of carrying, as naturally as clothes, a tra¬ 
ditional architecture whose spatial sophistication 
seemed light-years beyond the capacity of the West. 
Something similar applies to the references to 
‘peasant dwelling forms’. The search for Wittkowe- 
rian architecture in Italy, and for the ‘Unite’, had 
been part of a general rediscovery of the Mediter¬ 
ranean basin by that generation. Through eyes tu- 



Kyoto (Japan), the Katsura detached pa- 

^ce. Seventeenth century 

External gallery at the North-East corner 


Diagram of mat-planning and sliding 
screens used in traditional Japanese 

tored by Le Corbusier’s sketches (and, doubtless, 
by the art of Cezanne and Picasso) they saw, in 
Mediterranean peasant buildings, an anonymous 
architecture of simple, rugged geometrical forms, 
smooth-walled and small-windowed, unaffectedly 
and immemorially at home in its landscape setting. 
Discovering similar or analogous qualities in, say, crof¬ 
ters’houses in Scotland orfarms in Gotland, they trans¬ 
lated this vision of a ‘Basic’ architecture into a ser¬ 
ies of rural housing projects prepared for CIAM-X 
in Dubrovnik. They measured against these stand¬ 
ards Aalto’s work at Saynatsalo and Quaroni’s at 
La Martella, and finally translated them into built 
fact, not through the agency of the Smithsons, but 
of Richard Llewelyn-Davies and John Weeks in the 
village rebuilding at Rushbrooke, Suffolk. The archi¬ 
tects of this scheme have since become anathema 
with the former Brutalist connection, but at the time 
the Rushbrooke housing fascinated and provoked 
them into a lengthy (and largely approving) corre¬ 
spondence in the ‘Architects’ Journal’. 

The insistence in the Smithsons’ statements on the 
importance of materials almost at the expense of 
all other aspects of architecture may cause no sur¬ 
prise in retrospect, since common opinion has al¬ 
ways regarded the New Brutalism as chiefly a mat¬ 
ter of exposed materials and untreated surfaces, 
but this emphasis does less than justice to what 
was in the Smithsons’ minds at the time. The extra¬ 
ordinary collection of topics in the last paragraph 
(with its inexplicable terminal query) may give some 
clue to the other things that pre-occupied them: 
preoccupations summed up in the sentence “We 
see architecture as the direct result of a way of 

Like many others of their age, they were trying to 
see their world whole and see it true, without the 
interposition of diagrammatic political categories, 
exhausted ’progressive’ notions or prefabricated 
aesthetic preferences. That world, and their way of 
life in it, included Gropius as a crumbling reputation 
from the remote past, the works of Le Corbusier as 
ancient monuments, CIAM as a corrupt parliamentary 
body in need of anti-oligarchic reform — and Ameri¬ 
can product-design and advertising as the inheritors 
of the drive and adventure that had gone out of 
‘Modern Art.’ — and of much of the skill, in detail¬ 
ing and formal composition, that had gone out of 
architecture. As was to become clear later: 

“Any discussion of Brutalism will miss the point if 
it does not take into account Brutalism’s attempt to 
be objective about ‘reality’ — the cultural objectives 
of society, its urges, its techniques, and so on. Bru¬ 
talism tries to face up to a mass-production so¬ 
ciety.” 15 

But in 1954-55 this facing-up process had only just 
begun and lacked the sophisticated techniques that 
were to be contributed by the Brutalists’ associates 
in the other arts. These activities, such as the pio¬ 
neering studies of the ‘Pop’ arts made by Lawrence 

,s 'Architectural Design’, April 1957 


Alloway and others, will be discussed in the next 
chapter, but an early attempt to face up to a more 
primitive society and its ‘way of life’ in architecture, 
may be seen by simply turning the page of January 
1955 issue of ‘Architectural Design’. 

There, the Smithsons review the work of Vladimir 
Bodiansky and Atbat-Afrique, especially the low- 
cost housing in Morocco. They draw a comparison 
with their own socio-architectural intentions at Gold¬ 
en Lane and go on : 16 

“What we termed back-yard ... they term ‘patio’, 
drawing on their knowledge of Arab needs from the 
area of greatest migration ... where the established 
collective system includes outdoor living-space. 
Whereas the Unite was the summation of a techni¬ 
que of thinking about ‘habitat’ which started forty 
years ago, the importance of the Moroccan build¬ 
ings is that they are the first manifestation of a new 
way of thinking.” 

To judge from a ‘Statement of principle’ that ap¬ 
pears at the bottom of the same page, but might 
have been more effective as part of the preceding 
Brutalist statement, the new way of thinking was to 
include not only a close study of the way people 
actually lived, but also a fair degree of permis¬ 
siveness in design as well: 

“It is impossible for each man to construct his own 

It is for the architect to make it possible for the 
man to make the flat his house, the maisonette 
h i s habitat... 

We aim to provide a framework in which man can 
again be master of his house. In Morocco they have 
made it a principle of ‘habitat’ that each man shall 
be at liberty to adapt for himself.” 

The thin, stick-and-matchbox aesthetic in which this 
ethic of permissiveness was offered in Morocco 
hardly accords with the idea of Brutalism as an 
architecture of massive plasticity and coarse sur¬ 
faces, but what the Smithsons meant by Brutalism 
at this time certainly included social ethics, to 
which they attached quite as much importance as 
to formal architectural aesthetics. The growth of 
this ethic in their minds is inextricably entangled 
with the process by which other people came to 
identify the New Brutalism with ‘Part brut’ and other 
expressions of the aesthetic of the time, while the 
attempt to visualise the total environment in which 
this ethic could be realised involved them in a 
course of action which led to the destruction of 

S CIAM. These two aspects of the New Brutalism — 
‘Part brut’ and the reform of urbanism — are of such 
pivotal importance at this point in the argument that 
they are worth tackling out of their strict chronologi¬ 
cal position in this historical narrative. 

16 ‘Architectural Design', January 1955 

»8» r *‘1iTOF 


Tt irm 


(> 4 U 




Alison and Peter Smithson; 

City of London (England), Golden-Lane 
Housing, competition design. 1952 

Elevations, section 

I) K I.K l.hv K I. \ N li I o I' I lit •> 

G 0 L D E N 

L A N E 

a oi ; 


General plan at street-deck level 


Typical apartment plans, elevations, site plan 

im. \\ j.rui- n n 

5 2 
0 0 







1 • t\gk 

^ w Hav e „ " a "d 
/x ft Gallory 

60 3 
^ ,r S a "d slre 

®„urtyar d e| 


f” ol ° C ' ed c 

M 'nci 


l^ or 'Or Cjf 




Johannes H van den Broek and Jacob B Bakema; Rotterdam 
(Holland), Lijnbaan. 1953 


Detail of construction of upper facade 

General view 

64/65 , 
Johannes H van den Broek and Jacob B Bakema; Rotterdam 

(Holland), van den Broek House. 1953 

Living room, and entrance facade 






Edouardo Paolozzi; Bronze Head. 1954 


Jean Dubuffet; Monsieur Macadan. 1945 

.1 Brute, non and other art 

r„e .earn that assailed A. 
wenty-two Brutatet images J* ^ " onsls , e d 
libition ‘Parallel o \e p a0 | 0 zzi and the two 

»f Nisei Henderson, photo,..- 

Smithsons. Henderson, P his in _ 

phe., is »^»r"-side?a W e and 
fluence on the oth jt was he w ho had 

admitted by them , ’ word 'image’ then 

invented their use of ^ « Qn the 

his influence ^ and M. -ulp- 

other hand, is not a circles all over the 

— ,s known “"earned hin. a place In 
world. As early as 1952 11 ^ alongside Jack . 

Michel Tapie s bo „ . i ean Fautrier, Georges 

son Pollock, Jean Dubu ^ n £e 'anti-artists’ of the 
Mathieu and other repre a | re ady (and justifiably) 
period. Dubuffet s wor and this term could 

being described as art ^ work 0 f Paolozzi 

equally justifiably be app ■ ^ away {rom coa rse 
as, in 1952 - 54 , , e m °^ cies 0 f primitive figuration 
abstraction towards a P busts which have the 

_ esp ecia 1| y the s ma dimensio ns. The Smith- 
look of Dubuffet in «ir ^ ^ connection wl h 
sons were certainly ent that was establish- 

the emerging ant.-w p ao , ozzi , but they also 

ed by their friendship w ith it. Like many 

had a more direct acq “ a ' had bee n brought up 
other young Eur °P®* pollock for the first time,' 
against the art of J«**° by the European art- 
and without any prepara of 1950 . The im¬ 

press, at the ‘Bienne d > V e" he intel , ectual edifice 
pact of these pictures J? c|assica | theories 

which architects had was t0 be extremely 

of measure and prop de | aye d, because Pollock’s 
. Rut it was delay , _ , „„ mn i P telv 

tradition (and with it, the dominance of France in \ 
European intellectual life) then Pollock was im- 
mediately remembered, and became a sort of pa- 
tron saint of anti-art even before his sensational 
and much published death. 

A picture of Jackson Pollock in his studio - one 
might almost say ‘a sacred ikon’ - was one of the 
images in ‘Parallel of Life and Art’, but there were 
very few other references to ’art’ in any of t e 
culturally-accepted senses and the section of the 
exhibition which was labelled ‘architecture included 
a Mexican mask and a plate from a book of Vege¬ 
table Anatomy, as well as a number of subjects that 
would normally be regarded as engineering struc¬ 
tures, or settlements that would normally be regard¬ 
ed as too primitive to be counted as ‘architecture. 

In all sections, the exhibition dealt primarily with 
bizarre or anti-aesthetic images culled from news¬ 
papers, magazines, scientific and anthropological 
textbooks, or extreme modes of vision such as X- 
rays and micrographs. All had clearly been select¬ 
ed because of some very direct (and often inexpli¬ 
cable) emotional impact on the organisers of the 
show, and many carried that impact to those who 
came to see it. 

Although ‘Parallel’ was one of the crucial stages in 
the demolition of the intellectual prestige of ab¬ 
stract art in Britain, it is worth noting that it ac¬ 
cepted one form of abstraction without question, 
that of photographic reproduction in two dimen¬ 
sions, and put a high value on the qualities of gram 
and ’chiaroscuro’ that resulted from printing-down 
- V ' gross over-enlargements on unglazed photographic 
paper. This particular aesthetic was not absolutely 
original - something like it had been seen during 
1951 both in the ‘Triennale di Milano’, and an ex¬ 
hibition 'Growth and Form’ in London (with which 
Henderson had been involved at one stage) but the 
exploitation of these visual qualities to enhance the 
impact of subject matter that flouted humanistic 



Jackson Pollock In his studio. 1950 

a certaln “” ,M ■>' 

importance was not missed .'The lnni:ivatlon wh °se 
it coloured many hostilp r v » ^ IS n ° doub * that 

Wh6n * final >y ^Ppea^ed Ude * BrUWist 

conceptions°oTth^NewV*tT* ^ different 

architectural gossip and criticism ISm C ' rCulatin 9 in 

1 Certain thoughtful modernists with a ‘hp* 
background (a group which hao beaux-arts’ 

contribution to architectural dise^’ 3 major 
still hopefully regarded 6^1^^ . En 9 land ) 

1 or dre , a search for the tradition^ x * rappel a 

architecture as they understood thlm" ^ 15 ° f 

methods oTtSesInitEo^lad ° f ** busine ^-'ike 
their collaborators (enainpo c ° nvinc ed certain of 
that the New BrutaL m W as r '; a ud a 0therCOnSUltants ) 

ir ,i,sin,hebest “i«„" S nrSV“^ 

against the acceoted r rev °lution of the youna 
reaction against the categorised 8 ° f ^ a ° d Art ’ a 
connoisseur or aesthete a of the 

direct physical and emotional tl0n m fav our of 

-ol«ame„ li „ thecreali>epro a U«p erience ^ |n 

AN three estimates of the M«, D 
a strong element of truth thoun^tl!*'' 8 ," 1 Containe d 
sion was not, in fact, to establish 0® classic 'st ver- 
Brutali sm had passed out J £ 0* UntN after 
Smithsons, had ceased to be L l ^ 8 of the 
thetic’, and had become merelJ„ 1® n0t an aea ' 

, m h 0dea of arc hitecture ** "**#« 

the situation stood in 1954 5 s h ' SIXties - As 
mate involved a comni , 55 ’ however, this esti 

Brutalist concept of orderThT^ 8 **"*" 9 ° f the 
classical, but topological- 'J ? 0ncept Waa not 
site such as that of the Sheffield UnivensttyOro^ec^ 

would have involved judging the case on its merits 
(or rather, dominant factors) such as the land-form, 
the accommodation required and the finance aval 
•able, rather than in accordance with some pro 
established classical or picturesque 'schema in j ® 
usual manner of post-war architecture; and 
execution of the buildings would certainly hav 
been a calculated affront to the accepted convey 
tions of architectural detailing at that time — * G * 
would have been no exquisite surfaces, fine- ra ^ 
metal-work or harmonious colours, no integration 
architecture with the other plastic arts, etc, e • 
Constructed, Sheffield University as conceive 
the Smithsons would have been the most extre 
Brutalist building ever realised, and the whole s 
sequent history of Brutalism would have been 

But it still might not have been the most compl 
example, however extreme, because it did no 1 
dude one ‘other’ architectural possibility that w 
m the Smithsons’ mind by 1955, a possibility 
owed much to their involvement with the an 1 
movement. Their prototype ‘House of the Futu 
assembled early in 1956, was a serious attemp 
Fop Architecture’ comparable to the ‘Pop Art w 
has subsequently appeared in Britain and Ame 
e early date may cause some surprise, since 
r >s commonly regarded as a phenomenon o 
V* Ies> but the group who assembled ‘Para e 
i e and Art’ were among the very first, anyw e | 
® WOr * d > to direct their attention to the visua 
r\ i T . imager y °f much advertising and corn 
i * a ,. es * gn — hence the references to these 0 ^ 

Fro e ., New Bruta| ist ‘manifesto’ of January eS \ 
* e poin t °f V| ew of Paolozzi, say, the m ^ 
f I m ® ncan advertising was as a source °f p ° t j ve 
ar | outra 9eous images (comparable in em ggg 
Jffect to those in ‘Parallel’) but as early as & 

" . e was insisting on the need to stu y 
g Jf symbol °gy’ of these advertising images- 
ren h f- went farther than this, and seem to h 

kitrh rded American magazine advertisements 

of s!' en equipment - for instance, as demonstrate" 
? 3 7 t ay °! "fa - a way of life as complete and n* 
s " U . nderslo °d cultural overtones as those 
deta\ !? pboto 9 ra Phs of the kitchen of the Ka s 

VHIa C Sav 0 ye a,aCe ° f ^ kitChen ° f Le ^ 

wer^^x^ * be Pi n "hoard, such advertisenrie n 

wall r+h rn o r ° m the ma 9 a zines and displayed ° n . 
(the Smithsons contributed an article entitl 

‘ARk’°+ ay L. We Co ^ ect Ads’ to the student ma 9 aZ ' 
Futur ab ° Ut the same time tha t the ‘House of t 
had th ^ be ' ng desi 9ned), and on the wall they 
as gy 6 .° ub * e sta tus both of emotive images, an 
and arS a s * y * e a standard of t' nlS 

Britain 68 ' 90 ! day-to-day existence in post-W a 
vertkp C0U ^ n0t bo P e to emulate. Outside the a 
|.*f ments, the only tangible visions of such a 
ouc safed in London were occasional Ame rl 
an-made cars, belonging to embassy officials °r 
dignitaries (private citizens could not imp° r 
em) and, hence, the reference to the Cadillac ' n 


Alison and Peter Smithson; House of the 
Future (prototype). 1956 
Bathroom, and cut-away drawing 

the 1955 ‘manifesto’. The sight of such an artefact 
could be disturbing for more than one reason. 

It was, as has been said, solid testimony of ‘an¬ 
other world’, but it was also an affront to good 
taste’, and accepted progressive sentiment. Not 
only were ‘progressive’ habits of thought still domi¬ 
nated by older, anti-American members of the Left, 
but from the time of Sigfried Giedion’s book ‘Me¬ 
chanisation takes Command’, or even earlier, the 
styling of US commercial products had been specif¬ 
ically regarded as ‘bad design’, so that to admire it 
in public was to adopt an anti-conformist or 'angry 
young man’, attitude. But for those whose views had 
not been polarised by the politics of the Cold War 
(or the politics of Modern Architecture) it was pos¬ 
sible to admire the Cadillac or Plymouth for non- 
polemical reasons. Unlike European architecture, US 
car styling seemed to have tapped an inexhaustible 
supply of new forms and new symbols of speed and 
power, the sheer aesthetic inventiveness d splayed 
by Detroit designers in the middle years of the fif¬ 
ties was a constant reproach to the faltering imagi¬ 
nations of European architects and the industrial 
designers they appeared to admire (eg Nizzol. of 
Olivetti). But even more unlike British designers 
and architects in particular, the American stylists 
exhibited a dazzling command of details, joints and 
connections, the three dimensional coordination of 
different materials, and skill in fitting accessories 
and components into the total design (rather than 
sticking them on as afterthoughts as in British car- 
design and buildings). 

The House of the Future was, in a sense, a re¬ 
statement of Le Corbusier’s Citrohan/Citroen pun; 
a house built like a motor-car. But those aspects of 

» On the 'Citrohan' house, see: Le Corbusier 'Vers une archi- 
x » «« n Q931 section on 'Maisons en s6rie , his first extended 
nf nrefabrication and mass-production of buildings, in 

automotive technology which Le Corbusier had re¬ 
jected as un-architectural (notably technical obso¬ 
lescence and physical expendability) were accepted 
by the Smithsons as an inevitable part of the mass- 
production situation, and were fused by them with 
one of the most traditional of architectural concep¬ 
tions, the patio-dwelling. The design had been com¬ 
missioned for the annual ‘Ideal Home exhibition in 
London, and what the Smithsons offered to baffled 
(but often enthusiastic) visitors to the exhibition was 
a simple box without external windows, and a door 
on only one side, so that the three other sides could 
be packed hard up against other similar buildings 
to give high residential densities even in single- 

I storey developments. All the rooms were lit from 
continuous glazing looking into a small oval patio in 
the centre, the height of the roof being varied in 
a continuous curve to give daylight-factors suited 
to the use and aspect of the rooms around the 

The level of technical equipment was clearly intend¬ 
ed to surpass even the vision vouchsafed by the 
American advertisements they had been collecting, 
and this preoccupation has persisted in later imag¬ 
inative projects for domestic design that the Smith- 
sons have produced. The proposed form of struc¬ 
ture represents a different kind of raid into US in¬ 
dustrial design however: the double plastic shell 
was conceived as the equivalent of the panelling of 
a car body. Thus, no single panel was interchange¬ 
able with any other in the same house, only with its 
twin in another house. This situation, long since ac¬ 
cepted in the construction of industrially produced 
shells (such as car-bodies, aircraft fuselages etc) of 
course runs exactly counter to ideas current in 
architectural circles on prefabrication (eg all the 
various prefabricating projects associated with the 
names of Gropius and Wachsmann) where the at¬ 
tempt has always been to work towards a single 
universal element that can fulfill any role the struc¬ 
ture requires. The practical economics of the kind 



American advertisements for kitchen- 
appliances and cars. 1953-55 


fold-back or counter-top units- 
which one for your new kitchen ? 



Mm I" If,.- Will II, ll„ ^ f 

of design philosphy exhibited by the Smithsons’ 
structure implies a volume of production rivalling 
that of a major automobile manufacturer, and (in 
the kind of Open Society to which the Smithsons 
seem devoted) marketing techniques comparable to 
those of Detroit. The House of the Future was 
therefore ‘styled’ as much as it was designed. A 
complete aesthetic of panels and joints (avowedly 
modelled on automobile practice) was devised, and 
the exterior even boasted a certain amount of token 
brightwork that underlined its affinity to the chro¬ 
mium styling of a car or, indeed, the domestic ap¬ 
pliances inside. Even the possibility of an annual 
model-change was entertained. 

In spite of its patio-plan, this was still a very ex¬ 
treme conception for its time (in many ways much 
more extreme than lonel Schein’s contemporaneous 
plastic house designed for the ‘Exposition des Arts- 
Menagers’) and as so often in the history of Bru- 

talism, the attainment of an extreme position was 
followed by a withdrawal to a more traditionalist 
position. The Pop-Art patio-house was not to be, 
and when the Smithsons produced another patio- 
house mock-up later in that same year of 1956, it 
revealed very different intentions and produced a 
very different effect. 

Concurrently with other international avant-gar e 
activities in the plastic arts, during the early nine¬ 
teen-fifties, there had been an attempt to establisi 
an English ‘filiale’ of the Paris-based Groupe es- 
pace’. Since British artists like Paolozzi, Turnbull, 
Hamilton or McHale had long since abandoned the 
rather naYve tenets of ‘integration of the arts e 
by the ‘Groupe espace’ at that time, t e projec 
came to nothing, but the painters, arc itec s, scu P 
tors and critics who had gathered to iscuss e 
proposal continued to meet and final y eci e o 
stage an exhibition (called, for reasons now im pos 
sible to reconstruct, This is Tomorrow ). e s 
consisted of environments or constructions devised 
by groups each consisting (more or less) o a pain , 
a sculptor and an architect, but there was no 
all dogma or programme covering e ™ ° e 
testation. Each group worked as 1 1 ’ 

Lawrence Alloway wrote in an intro uc i 

“The independent competing groups^ no^agree 

£ * * ' u 
Groupe espace’. , . 

In ‘This is Tomorrow’ the visitor is exposed ’ ® P “.J 

effects, play with signs, a wid ®^er make of art 
and structures which, taken *09 as fac _ 

and architecture a many-chan e ^ ^ 

tual and far from ideal standards 

ax-i , instructions could be 

At least one of the group-const^ jnsjde 

regarded as an attempt t° br 9 hard HamHton 

the exhibition: John Voelcken fi t p Art 

and John McHale put together* anyw P here 

manifestation to be seen .n any £ 9^ 

m the world, complete with ^ made great 

imagery science fiction q uot ^' topology and 

P ay with communications th J wjth the \ anti . 
o he, topics generally assoc. : ^ time From! approach in En 9 la " aded ri ght across to 

his extreme, the exhibits shad^ 9^, 

n th h ,l r 6Xtreme ° f ° rder y f r Although the Hen- 
in the Groupe espace’ manner. . 

derson/Paolozzi/Smithson exhibit canno be fitted 

neatly into this sequence at any one po , it mus 

be said here that theirs was a trad.t-onahat ej„it, 

a very long way removed f rorT \ M H . 
tremism of Voelcker, Hamilton and Mctiaie. 

Their -Ratio and Pavilion’, though put together out 
of non-traditional materials such as aluminium and 
corrugated plastic, exhibited an architectural form 
that would be described nowadays by critics like 
Vincent Scully as “essentially a a te ‘ 

menos-enclosure” and was described by the group 
themselves in the exhibition catalogue m terms of 
.. necessities of human habitat ... the first neces- 




Alison und Peter Smithson; House of 
the Future. 1956 
Kitchen area 

sity is for a piece of the world, the patio. The second 
necessity is for an enclosed space, the pavilion.” 

Such an appeal to fundamentals in architecture 
nearly always contains an appeal to tradition and 
the past — and in this case the historicising tenden¬ 
cy was underlined by the way in which the innumer¬ 
able symbolic objects made or gathered by the 
group were laid out on beds of sand in a manner 
reminiscent of photographs of archaeological sites 
with the finds laid out for display. One or two dis¬ 
cerning critics, who knew their Smithsons and were 
acquainted with Henderson’s preoccupations with 
the folkways of the East London poor, described the 
exhibit as 'the garden-shed aesthetic’ but one could 
not help feeling that this particular garden shed, 
with its rusted bicycle wheels, a battered trumpet 
and other homely junk, had been excavated after 
the atomic holocaust, and discovered to be part of 
European tradition of site planning that went back 
to archaic Greece and beyond. 

The Smithsons were already beginning to exhibit 
that fascination with ancient planning that was to 
take them to visit the original sites in Greece, and 
was ultimately to affect their own ideas of site or¬ 
ganisation in a practical manner in the nineteen- 
sixties. Had they abandoned their extreme anti¬ 
traditionalist position of 1953? Certainly they had 
made a move in the same general direction as did 
many leading figures in the world of Anglo-Saxon 
architecture on both sides of the Atlantic as the 
neo-Classical revival set in (that is, from Philip 
Johnson’s synagogue at Port Chester, completed in 
this same year of 1956) but theirs was not Classi¬ 
cism in that sense — the pavilion was not placed 
axially in the patio, and the planning ‘grid’ was more 
like an irregular version of Japanese mat-planning 
than a classical system of modules. Further, when 
Peter Smithson came to present the results of his 
Greek investigations in public lectures in 1959 1B , 

18 Reprinted in the ‘Journal of the Architectural Association’, 
London, February 1959 


Jacques Coulon and lonel Schein; Maison 
Plastique (prototype). 1956 
Model and general view 


personal observation on the actual sites a 
vinced him that the Greeks used no systems 
portion nor geometrical devices in their P 
but had proceeded in a manner analogous ^ 
Sheffield University project, the various an( j 

being sited for convenience, oriented for r> 
topologically related by connecting ‘routes • ^ a 

If this was classicism, then it was clasSlC ^ s deli¬ 
very diffuse and generalised kind. If 1 r-^yffet ° r 
tionalism, then only in the sense that ^ erTlse |ves 
Paolozzi were traditionalist in occupyi n 9 n pre- 
with that traditional subject of art, the u g we re 
sence. Still it was clear that the Srni s ^ se apP' 
withdrawing imperceptibly from their c ^ fa- 
roach to an Other Architecture comp * ra w jthdra* al 
Pi^’s conception of ‘un art autre’. But the ja ||y in 
was very gradual indeed at this stage* ? S sta tem en * 
their own eyes, as one may see from t ,s 0 f th e 

(made in response to a very dull discus ^ 

New Brutalism in ‘Architectural Design) 

Published in April 1957: J<w >s 


If academicism can be regarded as y 0 b- 
answer to today’s problems, then obviou ^ rC p,jte c 
jectives and aesthetic techniques of a re ge. ^ 
^ re (or a real art) must be in constant ot i*n % 

me immediate post-war period it seeme and ^ e 
fo show that architecture was still P osSI ’d f° rr 
determined to set against loose planning . 
abdication, a compact, disciplined archi e s j* ua 

Simple objectives once achieved change b 0 ' 

l0n ’ an< ^ the techniques used to achiev e st 3 
come useless. So new objectives mus 
bhshed. wh e |e 

f r °m individual buildings, disciplined on 0 „ t o 
y classical aesthetic techniques, wo n 1 , \\W ^, 
an exar nination of the ‘whole’ problern 9 n 
associations and the relationship that gr0 W 
community has to them. From this study , a 0S 
a completely new attitude and a non-da* 
thet'e. |nt if '* 

Any discussion of Brutalism will miss the P ^pt i0 

hc> eS u- n0 ^ ' n ^° account Brutalism s ujecti' ,e 

ZJ 0bjectiva about ‘reality’ - the cultural M 0( O 

talits° Cl * ety ’ ur 9 es > its techniques an s oci 0 \ 

and ^ tri6S t0 face «P ^ a mass-product^ 
dra 9 a rough poetry out of the con 
werful forces which are at work. ty |j S t' c9 ' 

P to now Brutalism has been discussed sVt 

y> Pereas its essence is ethical.” ^s, 

butVc^ 6 k 6nt ' S not a| together clear m j fc>u ||d 
ing th ai I be re iated to a real and comP s pu 
lishej i ^ Ugden bouse at Watford, which ^ th 
Smithsn 3 6r * n tbe year - blere one ca t th 0 s '.. t 
cation nS aerious| y facing the realities f pu' 11 
at the t- Wh ' Ch English suburban houses w eS t‘ 

s ymbolis l m e th Under a " the P ressureS reiu<f ice !-ng 

the local h he er| t re nched aesthetic P 0V/ &rd l0 
site surl, ; eaUcrac V. a routine and •*"£>* 
brick houses 60 * "!| 0atly by routine and W 6 fe. 

^haracWi-’ anc ^ usua l inadequ \ 0 ped 

9 ru dging a d ^ ally ’ Peter Smithson de ^ the c°^ 
9 9 adm| ration f 0r the way in which th 

John Voelcker, Richard Hamilton and 
John Mc Ha| 0 ; London (England), section 
of exhibition 'This is Tomorrow- 19 56 


Alison and Potor Smithson, 
LondnrWF^ a ?'°j Zi N, ' 9el Henderson; 


Philip Johnson; Port Chester (N.Y., USA), 
Synagogue Kneses Tifereth Israel. 1956 
Entrance front 

For illustrations see page 77 

on soeculator-built houses of the area extracted 
e maximum of ostentatious effect from the poor 
ock of status symbols that could be contrived 
om the economically possible range of materials 
liefly brick and timber. But he did not accept their 
U y i nhipetives’ and set out to do as honest a 
t limitations of the loci 'reality', including 

* “ m e economical!, possible range I of m.t.nals 
ie sam result, like the other houses in 

i 0 U area*was basically a simple brick box, but with- 
it the Smithsons contrived some more enterpns- 
iq spatial arrangements than are common m Bnt- 
-h suburban architecture, and tried to illuminate 
em with windows placed according to internal 
eed rather than the outworn suburban conventions 
lerived from the Arts-and-Crafts tradition.of he 
. th century. The result has neither the 

homeless styling of the House of the Future, nor 
he Timeless 'hecessif,' of the Pavilion in the Patio 
- and it received an extraordinarily hostile response 
~ Lcp two extracts from the the correspondence 
JS | o of the ‘Architectural Review ’ 19 will show: 
;°'Tscms to mo that in .heir efforts fo avoid do- 
■ thp same (as speculative builders) they have 

r not better or even as well, but worse. Now I 
done ot be e , USQ they , ack ability. 

cT« bo t! .Ca-o -Of equipped wi.h a sound 
theorv (Norman Harrison): 

‘'The y house at Watford, Hertfordshire, ... is a 
shocking piece of architectural illiteracy in plan, 
construction and appearance” (Fred Lasserre). 
‘Illiteracy’, 'not equipped with a sound theory . had 
the Smithsons for once actually achieved ant.-archi- 
tecture, V even 'une architecture autre ? They had 
certainly flouted the picture-book conventions of 
gracious living that had so long circumscribed the 
ambitions of modern domestic architecture, and 
although‘the result was not so extreme as, say, the 
Sheffield University project, timid souls recognised 

i 11 I _Uiillrlinn 

« IF at Pothavu’ (lisrAmber 1957 and February 1958 






Dr jve-in cinema 

5.2 A note on ‘une architecture autre 

What is a subversive proposition in arehitecture - 
which, as an art, has been forced, by ®‘ r * 

cumstance, to absorb many concepts and usages 
felt to be hostile to its best traditions and yet has 
survived? There was something in the air in he 
middle of the nineteen-fifties that suggested that a 
really subversive trend was emerging, something 
that the traditions of architecture could not absorb 
and it was to label the intimations of such a trend 
(discernible in the Smithsons’ Sheffield scheme) 
that the present author coined the term une^archi¬ 
tecture autre’ in December 1955. Whatever I thought 
I meant by the term at the time, it was snapped by 
Udo Kultermann (’Baukunst und Werkform .August 
1958) in an article subtitled ‘Ein neugeknupfter Fa- 
den der architektonischen Entwicklung (A newly- 
tied thread of architectural development) but he so 
narrowed the meaning of the term, to cover i e 
beyond the purely formal alternatives to ‘rectangu¬ 
lar’ architecture, that it is necessary here to re¬ 
establish the full meaning of the phrase in terms of 

the New Brutalism. . 

As has been implied already, the term was corned 
by analogy with Tapie’s concept of «un art autre, 
and was intended to stand for something equally 
radical. That is, an architecture whose vehemence 
transcended the norms of architectural expression 
as violently as the paintings of Dubuffet transcend¬ 
ed the norms of pictorial art; an architecture whose 
concepts of order were as far removed from those 
of ‘architectural composition’ as those of Pollock 
were removed from the routines of painterly com¬ 
position (ie balance, congruence or contrast of 
forms within a dominant rectangular format — we 
argued much whether Pollock paid any regard to 
the edges of the canvas when dribbling his action 
paintings); an architecture as uninhibited in its re¬ 
sponse to the nature of materials ‘as found’, as were 
the composers of ‘musique concrete’ in their re¬ 
sponse to natural sounds ‘as recorded’. 

Thus, the final and absolute abandonment by ^ ^ 
que concrete’ of any traditional kind of sea 
even the twelve-tone series, and with it the a ^ 
donment of any kind of harmony or melody ( ,n ^ 
sense accepted in the theory of music as * aU ^ ten t 
the ‘conservatoires’) gave a measure of the e 
to which ‘une architecture autre’ could be eX ^ etr y, 
to abandon the concepts of composition, synn 
order, module, proportion, ‘literacy in P al ^ e pted 
struction and appearance’, in the sen . se , aC ^ c0 les 
in the theory of architecture as taught in t e ' c j er p 
des Beaux-Arts, and piously preserved ,n ^ e p0 st- 
Architecture of the International Style an ^ eC \yxe 
war successors. By this token, ‘une arc ^ .j ea 
autre’ ought also to have abandoned even a ban' 
of structure and soace — or rather, it oug f U nc- 

w ^ ^ ^ I W vA I I W IA W w 9 • y I | 

don the dominance of the idea that the P r,n ^ ^ke 
tion of an architect is to employ structure 

spaces. ,. tructure/ 

Many would agree that to abandon this s ^ 0 g 6 th- 
space synthesis is to abandon architecture a ^. on D f 
er, but all that is really abandoned is the n ^ s ^ c e 
the art of architecture that has been curren 
the Renaissance. Society at large has neV ^p 1 j n gto 
much interest in this notion, because it has n ^ oC j e ty. 
do with the architect’s function in relation °. ve had 
What the corporate and private patrons, w ° manC led 
to represent the desires of society, have e c tiviti® s 
of architects is environments for human ^ por 
and symbols of society’s cultural °bj eC y rUC ture 
most of human history some kind of space s ^ er 0 f 
artefact has been the unquestioned rna s n evoi* 
satisfying both these desires, but this waa ^ ss s0 
the only possible solution, and it is even _. n c j n e- 
today. A modern example would be a drive v0 | e n- 
ma, where the structure above groun e ^ y ra n- 

closes no space, and the cultural symbo s a^ ^ Qre 
sient light-play. But one can adduce mua n ^\s, 
primitive and genuinely a-formal example nC j ose d 
entirely devoid of structural elements or • e ^ j n . 
volume. The camp fire of a nomadic tribe^ 
stance, creates an environment for ^ urTia but 
activity and marks it with a powerful sym ’ are 

the size and shape of the useful environm ^ 
defined by no structure, simply by the aa . 

fire, the strength and direction ot the wind, tjvitio8 

siology of the individuals involved and the a 
they are performing. thiSj 

Given a genuinely functional approach sU fj\^ 0r y Q f 
no cultural preconceptions, and the full a ^ ure » 
modern mechanical services, an ‘other archi c ^ 
might well employ structure merely as a wa ^ QU ^ 
holding up other environmental controls, wl ^ 
endowing it with the monumental signifj can ^ 
enjoyed when massive construction was a mo 
only environmental control mankind possesse , ^ 

with these controls it might or might not happ e ^ 
define a space without endowing that volume 
the cultural significance loaded on it by socie 
trapped within volumes defined by massive s 
tures. , 

Formless (sic) buildings, such as Frederick K' es er s 
‘Endless House’ or Herb Greene’s dwelling louse 

at Norman, Oklahoma, only superficially fulfil this 
concept of ‘other’. The Sugden House comes nearer 
to it, in some senses, precisely because it is put 
together out of traditional materials, and this accen¬ 
tuates its underlying deviations from the norms of 
constructing environments out of those materials. 
So Fred Lasserre observes the Smithsons are illi - 
erate’, and have not employed the grammar asso¬ 
ciated with domestic planning in brick and wood, 
but seems not to have entertained the possibility 
that they might be literate in another language, em- 
ploying a different grammar. 

But more fundamentally ‘other’ is the approach ot 
a designer like Buckminster Fuller, especially as 
the architectural profession started by mistaking 
him for a man preoccupied with creating structures to 
envelop spaces. The fact is that, though his domes 
may enclose some very seductive-seeming spaces, 
the structure is simply a means towards, the space 
merely a by-product of, the creation of an environ¬ 
ment, and that given other technical means, Fuller 
might have satisfied his quest for ever-higher envi¬ 
ronmental performance in some more ‘other’ way. 
The truth of this has been dawning on architects 
for some time, and many have come to adopt an 
attitude of extreme hostility towards him, usually 
couched in the form of ridicule and harping on cer¬ 
tain obvious questions, such as, how do you make 
an entrance in a dome? (The answer, curiously 
enough, is the same as for a tower-block by Mies 
van der Rohe or an Unite by Le Corbusier - you 
raise it off the ground and go in underneath.) The 
Smithsons are to be included among those who 
have adopted this attitude to Fuller, so are practi¬ 
cally all others who could carry the name of Bru- 
talist. In the last resort they are dedicated to the 
traditions of architecture as the world has come to 
know them: their aim is not ‘une architecture autre 
but, as ever, ‘vers une architecture’. 


Frederick Kiesler; 'Endless House' project. 1957 


Herb Greene; Norman (Oklahoma, USA), House on the Prairie. 

R. Buckminster Fuller; Carbondale (Illinois, USA), architect's 
own house. 1960 



For illustrations see page 78-84 

5.3 The end of an old urbanism 

Even if no slogan or label had emerged sponta¬ 
neously to identify the Smithsons and their inter¬ 
national network of like-thinking friends, it would 
still have become necessary to invent a name of 
some sort for the purposes of journalism and hi¬ 
story-writing. Firstly because their work represents 
a recognisable trend; secondly, and more urgently, 
because of the role they played in the politics of 
the Modern Movement. In the absence of the name 
Brutalists’, they would presumably have been known 
as Team-X’, and remembered as the destroyers 
of CIAM. 

The relationship between Brutalist ideas and the 
collapse of the original ‘Congr&s Internationaux 
d Architecture Moderne’ is direct, the activities of 
Team-X in bringing about that collapse deliberate 
and conscious at least in the sense of a deter¬ 
mination to see their own ideas prevail, no matter 
what the cost, because they were convinced that 
they were right and their opponents wrong. How¬ 
ever, these ideas were not overnight growths, nor 
was the formation of the Team-X alliance a sudden 
secret conspiracy; the process by which the grand 
old movement was demolished goes back to the 
beginnings of ClAM’s post-war activity, and the 
creation of Team-X was part of the deliberate 
policy of the movement’s older members, even 
though the outcome was not what they had intended. 
To recapitulate briefly: from the seventh congress 
(Bergamo, 1949) onwards, it was the custom of 
architectural students (especially from Britain) to 
flock to CIAM to re-establish contact with the inter¬ 
national Modern Movement, to sit at the feet of its 
great masters and to acquire those non-parochial 
standards of architectural value that were discussed 
in section 1.2 At Hoddesdon in 1951, and above all 
at the crucial ninth congress at Aix-en-Provence in 
1954, this mass movement of students gained in 
strength. Aix, indeed, was almost overwhelmed by 
the crush of students and young architects, for 
whom it was a kind of consummation to their ‘grande 
affaire with the Latin South, with the Mediterranean 
and, above all, with Le Corbusier. As is well known, 
a party organised by Le Corbusier’s office on the 
roof of the newly completed ‘Unite’ at Marseilles was 
both the crowning moment and major scandal of 
the Aix congress. 

As is so often the case with such emotional occa¬ 
sions as this, the high feelings of Aix were followed 
by a kind of post-orgasmic reaction: 

“We of the younger generation received a shock at 
Aix in seeing how far the wonder of the ville radi- 
euse’ had faded from CIAM.” 20 
So wrote Team-X in the preamble to their program¬ 
me for the tenth congress at Dubrovnik. The con¬ 
tent of this statement is as symptomatic of the 
troubles of CIAM as were the names of it signato- 

20 Reprinted in: Oscar Newman, 'CIAM '59 in Otterlo’, 1st volume 
of the ‘Documents of Modern Architecture’ edited by Jurgen Joe- 
dicke, London 1961, which is the best compact source for the re¬ 
ferences and quotations in this section. 

ries. Looking back now, it is clear that the compo¬ 
sition of Team-X (so called because they were 
entrusted with producing a programme for CIAM-X) 
represented an alliance of genuinely like minds, 
rather than a temporary grouping of dissident ele¬ 
ments: Bakema, Candilis, Gutmann, Howell, van 
Eyck, Voelcker and the Smithsons were becoming 
increasingly tied by genuine friendship and admira¬ 
tion for one another’s work. On the other hand it is 
difficult not to sense an odour of cynicism in the 
motives of the older CIAM in entrusting this group 
with congress X — some genuinely believed in giv¬ 
ing the young an opportunity to prove themselves, 
but for others the only way to silence the tide of 
criticism they could feel among the younger mem¬ 
bers was to confront them with the realities and 
responsibilities of power, in the hope that this would 
tame them. 

But, with four British members, Team-X was half- 
committed to the English view of CIAM and its 
future before its meetings ever began, and the es¬ 
sence of that view is contained in the quotation 
given above: CIAM was seen as the guardian of the 
sacred vision of ‘la ville radieuse’ and the older 
members were censured for having lost faith. In 
point of historical fact, of course, this view is a 
travesty of what CIAM originally set out to do. Le 
Corbusier’s vision of ‘la ville radieuse’ was only one 
of a number of town-planning concepts and urbanis- 
tic philosophies that had been contributed to ClAM’s 
pool of ideas. There were no reasons for expecting 
other founder-members to abandon their own urban 
visions in order to support Le Corbusier’s, and even 
Jos<§ Luis Serfs 'Can our Cities Survive?’, the of¬ 
ficial compendium of CIAM town-planning, synthe¬ 
sises a number of viewpoints, even though it was com¬ 
piled after political difficulties in other parts of 
Europe had allowed the French group (and, there¬ 
fore, Le Corbusier) to establish a virtual hegemony 
over CIAM. 

But the war, and other causes, had allowed that 
hegemony to become dominant in the minds of the 
young, and successive volumes of the ‘Oeuvre com¬ 
plete’ had taught them to interpret the Athens 
Charter through Le Corbusier’s eyes, and to see 
some form of ‘ville radieuse’ as the corporate am¬ 
bition of CIAM. Also there is no doubt that the 
post-war aspect of the pre-war heroes — middle- 
a 9 e d, greying, world-weary and wise in the ways of 
diplomatic compromise — must have come as a 
shock to those who had previously known them only 
in glamorous photographs taken during the Athens 
congress, or in the fervent writings of their youth. 
Now inclined to be a little sceptical of the pos¬ 
sibility of applying even the simple concepts of the 
Athens Charter among the conditions then ruling 
in war-ruined Europe, preoccupied with husbanding 
the structures and resources still in existence rather 
than making ‘tabula rasa’ and starting again, they 
must indeed have looked, in the eyes of the young, 
like traitors to the great vision. 

Soon after Aix, and a few months after their first 
Brutalist manifesto, the Smithsons gave their view 


of the relations between Team-X and the CIAM 
‘establishment’ in their earliest published statement 
on town planning 21 : 

“Each generation feels a new dissatisfaction and 
conceives a new idea of order. This is architec¬ 

Young architects today feel a monumental dissatis¬ 
faction with the buildings they see going up around 

For them, the housing estates, the social centres 
and the blocks of flats are meaningless and irrele¬ 
vant. They feel that the majority of architects have 
lost contact with reality and are building yesterday's 
dreams when the rest of us have woken up in to¬ 

They then go on to attack the Garden City concept 
(ever a favourite target in Britain) and then the 
‘Rational Architecture Movement' which one knows 
from other observations made by them, to mean the 
town-planning ideas (on housing in particular) of 
Gropius and his followers as set out in ‘Can Our 
Cities Survive?’: 

“The social driving force of that movement was 
slum-clearance, the provision of sun, light, air and 
green space. This social content was perfectly 
matched by the forms of functionalist architecture, 
the architecture of the Academic period which fol¬ 
lowed the great period of Cubism, and Dada, and 
de Stijl, of the ‘Esprit nouveau’. This was the period 
of the minimum kitchen and the Four Functions, the 
mechanical concept of architecture.” 

The complaint about the ‘mechanical concept’ of 
the ‘four functions’ refers, of course, to the basic 
postulates of the Athens Charter, which separates 
out: Work, Residence, Recreation and Circulation 
as the four functions of the city. Even the older 
members of CIAM recognised that this analysis was 
inadequate, but did not reject it, merely adding new 
functional categories such as ‘the historic centre’ 
(‘Can our Cities Survive?’) or ‘the Core’ (CIAM-VIII, 
Hoddesdon, 1951). But the young were for a root- 
and-branch rejection of all the Athenian categories, 
which they frequently damned as ‘diagrammatic’, 
and the progress of their revolt was summarised 
thus by Theo Crosby 22 : 

“The CIAM congress at Aix-en-Provence in 1954 
(sic) saw the first crack in the theoretical solidity of 
the Modern Movement. The Smithsons showed Hen¬ 
derson’s pictures, met Candilis (who had produced 
some remarkable Moroccan housing), J. B. Bakema 
of Holland and several young men who also found 
the Athens Charter obsolete. They formed a group 
to exchange information. This group, Team 10, was 
entrusted by CIAM to prepare the programme for 
the 10th CIAM congress at Dubrovnik in 1956 (ap¬ 
parently on the principle: if you can’t beat them, 
join them). The method of analysis for the projects 
submitted was, roughly, in terms of human associa¬ 
tion rather than functional organization, thus mark¬ 
ing a radical break in architectural thinking. 

21 ‘Architectural Design’, June 1955 

22 Introduction to ‘Uppercase 3*, London 1960 

At Dubrovnik it became evident that CIAM, with 
over 3,000 members, had become too diffuse to 
cover any subject other than by the merest genera¬ 
lisation. There was also a cleavage between the 
founders, old, famous and very busy, and the fol¬ 
lowers, young, underworked and ravenous for pow¬ 
er. The congress broke up, leaving Team 10 in pos¬ 
session of the field. Most national groups dissolved 
themselves. Team 10 continued to meet, in Paris 
(1959) and Otterlo (1959), but they met as individu¬ 

Of course, CIAM did not immediately vanish, and 
there was a good deal of recrimination and back¬ 
biting among the survivors, which persisted, well 
after the Otterlo congress, in a lengthy correspond¬ 
ence in all the world’s leading architectural maga¬ 
zines, about precisely the kind of legalistic point 
that tends to obsess the minds of old men in defeat 
— whether or not Otterlo had the ‘right’ to decide 
that “the name of CIAM could no more be used by 
participants”, to quote Bakema’s summary state¬ 
ment after Otterlo had broken up. 23 The plain fact 
was that the old men were defeated — at least with¬ 
in the framework of the old CIAM. It was evident 
that much had been lost — the middle generation, 
particularly the Italians like Ernesto Rogers and 
Ignazio Gardella, had been deprived of the oppor¬ 
tunity of succeeding to the seats of power vacated 
by the old; distant members like Kunio Mayekawahad 
been deprived of the psychological support of mem¬ 
bership in a great international organisation; even 
the youngsters seem to feel vaguely cheated that 
their later meetings (eg Royamont, 1962) did not 
carry the prestige or attract the world-wide atten¬ 
tion accorded earlier meetings. If Team-X were 
left ‘in possession of the field’, it was because even 
their potential allies had fled, with the exception of 
the few, chiefly in Europe, who at that time agreed 
with them that town-planning is primarily an archi¬ 
tectural discipline, and that the word ‘city’ still stood 
for something of positive human value expressed as 
an emotive artefact — as an ‘image’. 

What did this view mean to them? The preamble to 
the Dubrovnik instructions again provides valuable 

“Each architect is asked to appear, project under 
his arm, ready to commit himself... 

We are seeking the ideal habitat for each particular 
place at this particular moment... 

... we are interested only in the outcome of this 
collaboration (with sociologists and other special¬ 
ists), not in diagrams of relationships or analytical 
studies, but as architecture.” 

There is an implicit rebuttal of Le Corbusier in 
these quotations: when he first conceived the ear¬ 
liest version of the ‘ville radieuse’ it was the gene¬ 
ralized solution for an ideal site, avoiding ‘all spe¬ 
cial cases, and all that may be accidental’. The 
young, in unknowing pursuance of a definition of 

23 Reprinted at the end of 'CIAM '59 in Otterlo’, see also his 
letter circulated to all the magazines which printed the ‘anti- 
Otterlo’ declaration of Giedion, Sert, Le Corbusier and Gropius. 


Brutalism once offered by Toni del Renzio — Do 
as Corb does, not as Corb says” — applied them¬ 
selves instead to the proposed built environment of 
a particular place with all its accidental and special 
features, the unique solution to an unique situation. 
For even those who felt required to reject the cate¬ 
gories of the Athens Charter as ‘diagrammatic’ could 
accept the ‘Unife’ as the ideal habitat for Marseilles 
in 1950. Concurrent with this emphasis on the re¬ 
alities of a particular place (comparable with the 
Brutalist insistence on the real nature of particular 
materials etc) is the insistence on commitment, that 
the architect should be so personally involved with 
his proposed habitat that he would be prepared to 
defend it against detailed scrutiny by his fellow- 

To the young who had recently emerged from archi¬ 
tecture schools, especially in Britain where the ‘cri¬ 
ticism’ system was still a workable eductional tech¬ 
nique, the submission of one’s work to public exa¬ 
mination by a jury was a work-a-day purgatory, a 
customary form of intellectual discipline. To some 
of their continental contemporaries it appears to 
have come as a novel and welcome exercise in 
existential self-examination, but can one imagine a 
Gropius, a van Eesteren or a Neutra submitting his 
work to the indignities of hostile questioning by men 
forty years his junior? Even the middle generation 
had difficulties in acknowledging the criticisms of 
the young, as may be seen occasionally in the 
published record of the Otterlo congress. 

But if CIAM broke up because many of its older 
members knew that their work was too heavily com¬ 
promised for them ever to bare their architectural 
souls in public (and, worse, they knewthattheyoung 
were fully aware of this, and were waiting to pounce), 
the legends of some of these older members surviv¬ 
ed untarnished, especially that of Le Corbusier, who 
had survived the disaster of Dubrovnik with Mikoyan- 
like cunning. His personality, his vision of the ra¬ 
diant city survived everything, and continued to 
dominate the minds of the Team-X/Brutalist con¬ 
nection even after the Athens Charter had been de¬ 
clared obsolete. This dominance can be seen clear¬ 
ly enough in the following short article or, rather, 
‘exhortation’, by the Smithsons which appeared in 
the ‘Architectural Review’ at the end of 1957, and 
can well stand as a representative sample of their 
writings on town planning. .It commences with an 
editorial introduction which is, effectively, a profes¬ 
sion of support for their views 24 : 

“Throughout the past quarter of a century, from the 
first congress at la Sarraz in 1928 to its virtual dis¬ 
solution last year... CIAM has brought together the 
masters of Functionalist architecture — Le Corbu¬ 
sier, Gropius, van Eesteren and many others - in 
discussion on the problems of their art, and of city 
planning in particular. Their findings, formulated in 
methodically drawn-up documents, the most notable 
being the Athens Charter of 1933, now begin to ap- 

74 ‘Architectural Review’, November 1957 

pear too diagrammatic, formalistic and legali st,c ^ 
and here, Alison and Peter Smithson, who have 
ticipated in much of ClAM’s post-war activity, s 
out a case for rephrasing ClAM’s functionalist 
ets on a more humane and pragmatic basis.” 

Then follows the article proper, under the 
‘Cluster City’ (the word ‘cluster’ comes ultima ^ 
from the American urbanist Kevin Lynch, and P 
sed into British circulation through Denys Las ^ 
who called his residential towers in East Lon 
‘cluster-blocks’) 25 : $ 

“The modern architect is interested in the imp 1 & 
tions of his building in the community and ,n 
^culture as a whole. His first concern is with th e 
neral problem, from which the specific soluti 0 ^^ 
the particular situation is evolved. The Decla r ^ ^ 
of the first Congress of Modern Architecture (C ^ 
in 1928 was concerned not only with the thro ^ 
over of outmoded formulas and the Academi eS, ^j, 
with the actual functional basis of the new a r ^ ^ 
tecture, with economics, with the rational is at' 
building, and also with town planning, for the 
tional City was the natural extension of a Func 1 
Architecture. is 

The situation for the modern architect t°^ a |j S ts 
fundamentally the same, we are still functiof a ^^ 
and we still accept the responsibility for tho ^^l 
munity as a whole, but today the word f u . nC ^jrty 
does not merely mean mechanical as it did 
years ago. Our functionalism means accepts nS 
realities of the situation, with all their contradm 
and confusions, and trying to do something ^ 
them. In consequence we have to create an J u j|t 
tecture and a town planning which — throug ^ 
form — can make meaningful the change, the Q r 
the flow, the ‘vitality’ of the community. ^ 

There must be inherent in the organisation of e '‘ 
building the renewal of the whole community s . g 
ture. Take, for example, the problem of rebu' 1 ^ 
hree houses in an existing street; the hoUS c a 
each side of the street form, with the street itse ’|d 
is met urban idea; the three new houses s ^._jj, 
no just live off this idea, but should give c . 

cation a sign, of a new sort of community s t 
ure. But this cannot be done unless the a rch ra | 
as a more or less completely conceived 9® 
idea or ideal towards which all his work is aimed- 

It is now obvious that the functional-mechanic*’ 

of 0f V™" 1 Panning and the Cartesian *® sth e|e - 

of the old Modern Architecture are no longer rj* 

sunn L t J° rbusier ’ s d ream of a Ville Radieuse 
thT , by a ge ° metr y of crushing banality- 

that is h we see jt now _ thep|ans g oveUS as I * 

s the pattern on the tablecloth at the ‘Vieux P a 

which is indeed, where it may have originated- 

eren are our reactions to the same image- ' 
sparking-point, excitement; ours, art-historic* 1 

« cnuumsiantiai account ot his discover* 
cluster concept in 'Architectural Design', February 1959, refs" 
particularly to an article by Kevin Lynch that had app eared 
Scientific American’, April 1954. 


Yet the dream was real enough, and is still relevant: 
‘Here we have a promenade for pedestrians rising 
on a gentle ramp to first-floor level which stretches 
before us as a kilometre flight of terrace. It is flanked 
by cafes embowered in tree-tops that overlook the 
ground beneath. Another ramp takes us to a sec¬ 
ond promenade two storeys above the first. On one 
side of it is a Rue de la Paix of the smartest shops: 
the other commands an uninterrupted view of the 
city’s limits. Yet a third ramp leads to the esplanade 
along which the clubs and restaurants are grouped. 

We are sheer above the expanse of parks with a 
tossing sea of verdure plumb beneath us. And to 
the right and left, over there, and further away still, 
those gigantic and majestic prisms of purest trans¬ 
parency raise their heads one upon another in a 
dazzling spectacle of grandeur, serenity and glad¬ 
ness ..‘Those hanging gardens of Semiramis, the 
triple tiers of terraces, are ‘streets of quietude’. 
Their delicate horizontal lines will span the inter¬ 
vals between the huge vertical towers of glass, bind¬ 
ing them together with an attenuated web ... That 
stupendous colonnade which disappears into the 
horizon as a vanishing thread is an elevated one-way 
autostrada on which cars can cross Paris at light¬ 
ning speed ... When night intervenes, the passage 
of cars along the autostrada traces luminous tracks 
that are like the trails of meteors flashing across 
the summer heavens.’ 

This quotation is from a piece called ‘The Street’ 
which originally appeared in ‘L’lntransigeant’ in May 
1929. It is a description of the ‘plan voisin’, a project 
of 1925 which applied the principles and building 
types of Le Corbusier’s earlier project ‘une ville 
contemporaine’ (1922) to Paris. 

We still respond to this dream, but we no longer 
believe in the means by which he imagined it could 
be achieved. His city is a colossal, axially-organised 

The general idea which fulfils these requirements 
is the concept of the Cluster.The Cluster —a close- 
1 knit, complicated, often-moving aggregation, but an 
aggregation with a distinct structure. This is per¬ 
haps as close as one can get to a description of the 
Inew ideal in architecture and planning. 

Given this description, the problem of building the 
three houses in an existing street is one of finding 
a way (whilst still responding to the street idea) 
to chop through the old building face and build up 
a complex in depth, of providing a suggestion, a 
sign, of the new community structure. 

It is traditionally the architect’s job to create the 
signs or images which represent the functions, aspi¬ 
rations and beliefs of the community, and create 
them in such a way that they add up to a compre¬ 
hensible whole. The cluster concept provides us 
with a way of creating new images, using the tech- 
<1 niques which have been developed to deal with the 
problem of a mass-production society, the tech¬ 
niques for example of road and communication en¬ 
gineering. Many solutions have been put forward to 
deal with the problem of traffic — motorways joining 
population centres, urban motorways within com- 

munities, peripheral controlled parking round the 
old centre, out-of-town shopping centres, off-motor- 
way factories and residential dormitories, so utions 
which either disperse the energies of communities 
or integrate them in an entirely new way. 

The accepted concept of the city is one of concen¬ 
tric rings gradually decreasing to the edges in re¬ 
sidential density and ground coverage, with a radia 
road-pattern from the historic nodal point. To this 
pattern has lately been added concentric self-con¬ 
tained low-density satellites (isolated around Lon¬ 
don, connected at Stockholm). i 

In the Cluster concept there is not one ‘centre bu 
many. Population pressure-points are related to in¬ 
dustry and to commerce and these would be e 
natural points for the vitality of the community to 
find expression — the bright lights and the moving 

These commercial and industrial pressure-points are 
connected by motorways to frankly residential dor¬ 
mitories and dormitory-used villages. It is useless to 
pretend that life is so simple that we can all ‘live 
where we work’ - we have to accept population mo¬ 
bility and be one step ahead of it in controlling the 
form it takes. Creating new images both for the new 
elements themselves and tor the old elements which 
have to be transformed. 

We must think out for each place the sort of struc¬ 
ture which can grow and yet be clear and easily 
understood at each stage of development. The word 
Cluster gives the spirit of such a structure, and exist¬ 
ing planning techniques, such as the control of re¬ 
sidential densities, comprehensive redevelopment 
and compulsory purchase, give the power (at least in 
England). There seems no reason why more freely- 
flowing, more varied, more useful communities can- 
not be constructed.” 

This single article will, for the purposes of the pre¬ 
sent book, serve to represent the typical contents of 
a Smithson article on town planning of this period. 
Most of the themes and preoccupations seen here 
recur throughout thfeir other writings on the subject, 
and are simply enriched, rather than transformed by 
additional thematic material — especially concerned 
with the automobile, or the transience and perma¬ 
nence of urban buildings, after they had visited the 
USA. Whatever is added, the central theme remains 
always the ideal solution ‘for a particular place at 
the present time’, with every new building seen as a • 
successful, or unsuccessful, prototype of a new urban 

The whole ‘cluster of ideas' is best summed up in one 
magisterial ‘image’ — the scheme with which they won 
a prize and great kudos in the ‘Hauptstadt Berlin’ 
competition in 1958. Their acceptance of the reali¬ 
ties of the situation’ went to the extent of retaining 
most of the existing street grid of the part of Berlin 
in question, and then giving the city a completely 
new pattern'of pedestrian circulation on open decks 
(analogous to the terraces of the ‘plan voisin’) two 
or three storeys above the streets. This device of 
the two contrasting superimposed grids has the air 


of a direct rebuttal of the chess-board geometry of 
Functionalist town planning, and may even be a 
conscious gesture of contempt for the defeatist at¬ 
titude of Gropius at CIAM-VI (Bridgewater, 1947) 
when he said that Berlin could not be substantially 
replanned because the existing network of streets 
sewers and other services represented too big an 
investment to be disturbed. 

But the ‘image' of ‘Hauptstadt Berlin’ was not only 
an irregular network of upper pedestrian walks as 
seen on plan (though that pattern has been much 
copied) it w as also the means of vertical circulation 
that connected the old, ground-level grid with he 
new one above it. This was to be an escalator dtv 
m which vertical transportation was to be almost 
more the norm than horizontal movement. This was 
both the image of the new elements and tho • 
of the old .h„ had bean tnJSd fo, ,h. TT 
meaning of the streets at ground levJ u ? rba " 
be quite different now that the i a '? dear,y 
the city had moved upl the J r ^ C ' rCUlati ° n ° f 

t B o U bI h seen iS emSn e g 

of Brutalist town planning - the're 1 a e D d D eVe '° pment 
Picturesque method. It needs to ho ppearan ce of 
this is more a matter of S be emphasised that 
thinking than of Picturesque visuluomo me . th ° ds ot 
was not really so surprising when POSltlon ' Th 's 
both the Brutalists and the proDon 0 "* 6 reCalls that 
Picturesque had rejected B ^ 
matter of principle: both would oh ? mng as a 
voisin' because it was an L a ,l» the ' plan 
board; both sought for a pragmatic 0 D? amSed Chess ' 
Iba. »ould .II™ communities .ol“T?r h ° d 

ended’, to use a term not yet curront lor ( ° pen ' 
is difficult to see how the Smith V? 1958 ) and !t 
‘accepting the realities of the on 

1 -~ ... gi v&ee section 1.2) Aoain tu .. 

ed by the ‘Architectural Review’ for’ ^t 6 f 
s-stmg that when new buildings were to IT’ in ‘ 
into existing environments them +u inserted 
',IC b„, s.liuvtlel '.T 1 " >» 
time’, differs from the Smithsons’ nmhi° tHe ' r ° Wn 
new houses in an existina + u- i? 6m °* three 
of voice and choice of words emol ,' 6 ^ the ton « 
the same conclusion P ° yed ,n arriv 'ng at 

rar - * 

plored here - suffice it to give as an™* ^ fUlly 6X " 
cument submitted to CIAM v n example a do- 
printed in the official report ‘U ^ 18 in 1937 ( re ' 
1938). This document, headed ‘The' S ^ Loisirs ’ of 
contains some striking anticipate* 
forward in Cluster Citv and J ftheideas Put 
sistence on the importance f S P ecially of the i n . 
and population mobility as n„r , man assoc 'ation 
brovnik papers: P * forwa rd in the Du- 

‘‘Or, la socteto n ’6tant q Ue | a ri4l . 
il imports de les grouper | e D i^T" des h °mmes, 
que possible en favorisant ainl: i harmo "ieusement 
74 *' les Changes intel- 

lectuels et commerciaux de toutes sortes. C est le 
reseau de circulation a une echelle nouvelle qui de¬ 
termine le plan de la ville future.” 

Though couched in the Gallic rhetoric of pre-war 
CIAM prose, these opinions were the work of one of 
the most conscientiously English of Englishmen, 

H de Cronin Hastings, the intellectual driving force 
behind the neo-Picturesque campaign of the 'Archi- 

tectural Review’. , 

Symbolically, the gap between the Brutalists and the 
Picturesque Townscape movement may be said to 
close in 1962, when the Smithsons employed Gordon 
Cullen, greatest of the Architectural Review’s ‘Town- 
scape’ draughtsmen to prepare the prespectives of 
their Economist building. But by that late date the 
old polemical differences of the early fifties were 
becoming smudged over. As late as 1959 Lawrence 
Alloway in ‘Architectural Design’ was still trying to 
keen the party lines firmly drawn by reminding his 
readers of the “bitter knowledge of the sweet taste 
of the Festival of Britain whimsy, the crown of the 
British Picturesque revival”, but in less than a year 
after that, ‘Architectural Design’ carried an. article 
on Romantic Gardens by none other than HF Clark, 
whose articles on this very subject in the Architec¬ 
tural Review’ had been the first harbingers of the 

This*dosing of the circle in about one decade re- - 
presents many causes at work - shifts of fa ^ ,on ’ 
Ls of polemical urge, idealism making rta peace 
with pragmatism, dreams accommodated to the re¬ 
alities of the situation’, the Englishness of Englis 
architects overcoming their interest in exotic in¬ 
fluences, the backyard proving a more pressing'prob¬ 
lem than the patio. In any case, what happened to 
the English Brutalists did not necessarily happen to 
the red of Team-X, and the planning of a Bakema 
or a Candilis always retained a degree of diagram¬ 
matic idealism that disappeared from the work of 
the Smithsons, Howell, Voelcker or the others who 
had submitted rural housing schemes as the British 
contribution to Dubrovnik. Somewhere in the process 
what the English were doing had become separated 
'from Brutalism as the world was coming to under¬ 
stand it. In common international usage, the word 
was shedding its urbanistic and technological over¬ 
tones, and becoming narrowed to a stylistic label 
concerned largely with the treatmen of building sur¬ 
faces. It was possible for one of the contributors 
to the ‘Architectural Design’ symposium on the New 
Brutalism in 1957 to refer to “the more specifically 
Brutalist elements such as the untreated surfaces 
and exposed pipes and ducts and conduits . The 
Smithsons might object that this missed the point 
(see section 5.1) but such was the prestige of Le Cor¬ 
busier’s ‘beton brut’ that the world was becoming 
convinced that this heroic material was ‘specifically 
Brutalist’ - and, for this, one building was respon¬ 
sible. Though works by Bakema, or Aalto, already 
existed that might have given substance to Brutal¬ 
ism, it was Le Corbusier who stamped his personal 



ml 11 1U 1111 1 11111II VuVnYm ii i mi'i mu 


Richard Lleweiyn-Davies and John Weeks; Rushbrooke (Suffolk, 
England), Village Housing. 1957 

Front yard, and house-plan (scale 1:200) 


-• i 







Typical floor plan (scale 1:200) 

1 living room 

2 balcony 

3 kitchen 

4 larder 

5 toilet 

6 entrance 

7 escape stair 

8 bathroom 
9/10 bedrooms 

11 main stairs 

12 escape stair 

13 lifts 

14 drying yard 

15 access bridge 


11 . 


The geometry < Mch " r 1 

U Carh,.sin's early urban v,sas 
"cere base,I. grates la lane bent as 
banal as that af the pattern „J a gager 
tablecloth. '1. from which it may «* ' 
lan e been ,, I. II. Tlaingb //»« « "/ 
interest la ns Ia,lay as a garni m ■a ■ 
historu. la he Carl, us,er ,1 ur« the 
germ "J an urban visum llmt erealril 
a convincing image of a city. *- 

. city’ 

105/106 . t . te r 

Alison and Peter Smithson; Illustrations to Article C u 


Contrast between Le Corbusier’s early pattern-making, P GrU en s 
by upper three illustrations, and his Jaoul Houses, V.cto 
master-plan for Fort Worth, and the Smithsons Cluste 

last three all automobile-determined 

architectural consequences on a civic 
scale in a project like I ictor (Irucn s 
pedestrian core for I'url II orth, 0, or 
the authors' idea for a nil/ of popu¬ 
lation clusters , 7. each working or 
living in types of buildings that have 
their men appropriate relation to 
motor traffic, and are described on the 
next two pages. 


Ahso^nd Peter Smithson; Berlin-Hauptstadt (Germany). 

competition design. 1958 

tjpper-level pedestrian network (shaded, scale 1:2000) 


Towers and slabs of Cluster city 


Central area 

Interchange between upper deck levels and ground, showi g 

For illustrations see page 93-101 

6.1 Les Maisons Jaoul, Neuilly 

The word ‘Brutalism’ was circulating, but the general 
architectural public remained unconvinced by the 
polemics of the Smithsons or the apologetics of 
critics like the present author, and were still puzzled 
by its meaning and hard put to find a building that 
seemed to match the word. The steel and glass of 
Hunstanton, even when allied to the rough imagery 
of ‘Parallel of Life and Art’ seemed too thin, too 
elegant to fulfil the implications of violence and 
crudity carried by the word ‘brutal’. 

Then came the Maisons Jaoul in 1956, and the vac¬ 
uum of architectural meaning was dramatically filled. 
The later history of the New Brutalism has much less 
to do with the theoretical propositions of the Smith- 
sons than it has tcTdo with the prog ress and per- 
mutations of the style invented by Le Corbusier for 
these two-houses-on-one-podium at Neuilly. They 
‘became’ Brutalism, and although sympathetic cri¬ 
tics like Denys Lasdun might protest that “the Jaoul 
houses, likeable or not, should be hailed or chal¬ 
lenged, but not classified” 26 , the very phraseology 
of the protest suggests that he knew it was already 
too late. They were classified Brutalist, and became 
the common standard bywhich the Brutalism of other 
buildings could be evaluated. However it is worth 
noting at this point that Le Corbusier seemed reluc¬ 
tant to apply the word ‘brut’ to them, preferring to 
speak of their ‘briques apparentes’ and 'gros beton 
arme’. Also James Stirling, breaking into print with 
an article comparing Jaoul with Le Corbusier’s villa 
Stein at Garches even before the Jaoul houses were 
finished, nowhere called them ‘Brutalist’ - perhaps 
because he was close enough to the Smithsons to 
know what they meant by the term. 

Nevertheless, the Jaoul houses were acceptable to 
the Smithsons, who made frequent reference to them 
and included them among the illustrations to‘Cluster 
City’ 27 . On examination, the Jaoul houses show many 
features that take them close to the definitions of 
Brutalism already current or about to be enunciated. 
Quite apart from their emphasis on materials as 
found’, their power as an ‘image’, etc, the rela¬ 
tionship of the two houses to their underground car¬ 
parking was a fair example of a building as a proto¬ 
type of a new urban order — hence the illustration 
in 'Cluster City’. 

Yet, what causes the numerous imitations and deri¬ 
vatives of Jaoul to be called ‘Brutalist’ has nothing to 
do with prototypes of a new community structure, 
and a great deal to do with raw concrete and ex¬ 
posed brickwork. Maybe there were predisposing 
causes — architects naturally looked to Le Corbusier 
for authoritative statements in architecture; the work 
of a great established master would clearly prevail 
over the theories of the young English upstarts, 
especially when that master was the one who had 
put the concept ‘brut’ in circulation. Also, Le Cor¬ 
busier’s earlier work already contained the basic 

24 ‘Architectural Design’, March 1956 
37 'Architectural Review', September 1955 

architectural proposition on which Jaoul was based, 
so that his admirers were prepared for it. This archi- 
^ tectural prototype was his last previous house in the 
western suburbs of Paris, the PetiteMaison de Week¬ 
end (as the ‘Oeuvre complete’ calls it) in Boulogne- 
sur-Seine, of 1935. Here the archaizing tendency so 
clear in Jaoul is already visible, in the ‘propylaeum’ 
spanning the path that leads to the pool, in the 
use of mass-concrete vaults and load-bearing 
walls, the sentimental ity about “mat erials friendly to 
Man”, — visible brick, random masonry and wood — 
plus an enforced budgetary economy that drove him 
back into a proto-Brutalist morality — “les elements 
de construction etant les seuls moyens architec- 

Certain post-war projects had developed this theme 
on paper, increasing the emphasis on archaism and 
primitivism, notably the ‘cite permanente’ at la 
Sainte-Baume (where the walls were to be of ‘pise’), 
the very influential ‘Roq et Rob’ hotel-project for 
Cap Martin, a year later in 1949, and more specially, 
the project for the Fueter house on the Swiss side 
of Lake Constance, which resumes the themes of 
1935 on a domestic scale once more, but with pre¬ 
cisely the air of ponderous ‘angst’ (it looks like an 
air-raid shelter) that was required to turn ‘materials 
friendly to man’ into ‘matieres brutes’. 

The Jaoul houses, as built, are less cowering and 
neurotic than this. They present sizable two- and 
three-storey elevations to outward view (where the 
constricted site permits such views) and each eleva¬ 
tion presents a layered composition of vertical slabs 
of coarsely-laid brickwork, separated by horizontal 
beams of plank-shuttered concrete and windows, 
while the end-walls show a cluster of exposed vault 
ends (also in ‘beton brut’) framing compositions of 
wood and glass. The same r epertoire of materials 
is exposed in the inie.nQrpwith the addition of oc¬ 
casional plastered walls and the dark tiling of the 
underside of the vaults (miscalled ‘Catalan’ by Le 
Corbusier). The inner face of the infill of the vault 
ends reveals a composition of shelving and cup¬ 
boards among the glazing, as part of Le Corbusier’s 
aesthetic of the ‘fourth wall’, and this led James 
Stirling to observe that this contrivance was "symp¬ 
tomatic of Le Corbusier’s recent attitude to surface 
depth. Windows are no longer to be looked through 
but looked at, the eye finding interest in every part 
of the surface impasto...” The use of the painterly 
term ‘impasto’ in this context is telling: elsewhere 
Stirling observes that the “wall is considered as a 
surface and not as a pattern”, and it was at this 
time that English critics were discovering that the 
Brutalist sculpture of Paolozzi was “an art of sur¬ 
face, not of mass”. 

Brutalism, as a going style, proved to be largely a 
matter of surfaces derived from Jaoul, in association 
with certain standard three-dimensional devices ta¬ 
ken from the same source - . at the external cen¬ 

tre point of these vaults, bird-nesting boxes are 
formed, and occasionally concrete rainwater-heads 
project...” (Stirling) - and a few others, notably 
gargoyles, derived from the chapel at Ronchamp and 



Le Corbusier’s Indian houses, and exposed concrete 
walling, also derived from Indian works like the 
S hodan house at,Ahmedabad (1956). But in spite of 
hese Jn^|anborrow)ngs, the Jaoul houses remain 

| the * P ^ al S T C - ° f BrUtalism as a ^yle, and this 
must be largely attributed to the fact that Jaoul’s 

architecture implies simultaneously acquiescence in 

IH JJn^nf t0 ' th f norms of European thought’ 

If the Indian houses did this, too, ttafart was of no 
consequence, since departures fm m rk . 
technological myths of Modern ArZ 3 ' 

cusable in India (or so it was to k®'^ ex ’ 
countries like EnalanH In those European 

simultaneous sympathy an^V 0 ! 0 " 131 ' 51 hab ' ts ° f 

persisted among the educate I °, n 6mpt for ln dians 

of Jaoul’s crude and Drtit t r 5 ^- But the use 

in Europe was a shock to -TV- 0 buildin 9 techniques 
nal habits. C °" StrUCti °- 

to encounter the Jaoul he '* Was “ dist urbing 
. ^e Champs Elysees ' anTf i"™" ha ' f a of 

point out later in the article thaVth' 1 1 ^^ Wh ' le to 

ian ,m “ WitH ' adderS ' hammer s and 

abandonment of that oree P '° n "- Sensing an 
dental sociology- that Stirlinqv"°" With ‘t'anscen- 
C ° m Ro "e, had once idem if a mte " ectual mentor 

z ;° r **- mSss-«*• 

hat the Jaoul houses “are h„-n ’ Stlrlln 9 maintained 
hejtatusquo^This is not alto intend ed for 

Parana ^'tk ° r9anisa 'ion of th^T ** tfUe ’ becau se 
parking , n the podium is an «V • 9r ° Up wit h its car 

Pre-war years the i " man 'festo-bui| r |- SOme °f 
cept the re a , I a ° U ' h °use s am " 9S ° f th e. 
(and to tole I 68 , 01 the Durbanh ?**> to ac ' 
that many 0 f the ? C ° ntrad ictions anri'" 9 SitUation 
WOnder « the h s e pl T e e n a d : X 

n °t faded for Le Cn J ° f the V,|| e r l f ° rCed to 
Ye ‘ ever y postla t USiert0 °- 6USe ’ had 

bee na'muEirn; bUildin9 b V the o,, 

Paol °«i) and one 2T' (t ° bor ^w a has 

that Jaoul a | So she^ 9 ^ prett y conv- Phrase from 

d'agrammatic forrrM^ be Corbusier" 10 " 19 ^ ar 9 u e 
° f * he Athens Charte' 81 ' 0 ^ '^listi?^" 9 “‘he 
habitat for a oe r ’ and tryino . Ca tegori es 
C u Ular f'me (the place (NelSii^® the ideal 

tKiS that 0n e? ies >- 't wa y) at that Pa * 

..’ * ; 

■ in “ >. 

0rT10 graphi c 

new volume of the ‘Oeuvre complete yo u ^ ^ ave 
that Corb has already had the best ideas y° 

just thought up”. oc than thist° 

But there were further multiple valenci u j| ( ji n g is 
the Jaoul image. Insofar as the manner o sS *, v e 
routine categories o P r el71 ely 

wase th.j 

s r!5 


the Jaoul image 
a rejection of the rouim^ - 
thinking’ inherited from the thirties, it j Waw 
sympathetic to men half Le ^ or ^ usier f 

lost patience with their ‘bien-pensant arme 

tive elders. Not only were the ‘gros e ° p r0 positi° n 

‘briques apparentes’ an affront to t e | ore front 

that Modern Architecture “marches in 0 f no- 

of technology”, but they were also a^^ ^ 

confidence’ in the Machine Aesthetic D hrasa) 

- thirties”, (StiHmg s ^ un g. 

••--fic to i r,c 


confidence III l! .w 

Architecture of the thirties”, # 

This too was extremely sympathetic 
who were far too sophisticated st y,«5 • ^ 

lieve that the white machine-aest e ^ conor nic al r ^ t 

any way inherent in the technic^ or twen^ eS . a j ei 
alities of the building situation o a ppH e< ^ 5 a s- 
thirties. They knew it had been ^ un dert he ^ jon 

ah° u 

thirties. They knew it hau unwi ^ 

transferred from post-Cubist P a ' nbn ^ eC j gen 1 
sure of fashion, and to this disenc a ^ 

the Jaoul houses had the ring of . p|ac e * Q \ 

the state of architecture in that \.'^ e 

^rinins ot s y t UfJ 

- - architeciui^ 

danger was that, with the origins or you— . 
their protective myths, the disench 3 fash j 0 n 0 
were free to build cynically f° r ^ 
hour, and not for the future. 

” White-walled Modern Architecture d' d n ° l 
0n 'he British „n*;i a « fi r 1930- P reC 

S i9 n ific g n th^1/ 

d< 9 oe K<’*! s 

isely i°g e * pB - n ' ,fl 

.ny c > 

i2 ny j d° U 

jO^ 6 

^hite-walled Modern Arum— 

0n 'he British scene until after 1930, P^ _ 
w on most of the inventors of the style ' . 

e Continent and the style itself P roSCr ' ra ti° n W °ti e5 ’ io 111 t '|i 
^ eontinenfal architect of Stirling's 9^ e tbe twe n gl J 
nave mferred to the 'White Architecture o )in g s ti o* 0 < 
WOuld carry less historical scorn ^^ 

" was 

6.2 Flats at Ham Common, London 

For illustrations see page 102-106 

A degree of dexterity with the niceties of style is 
not necessarily a disadvantage for an architect. If 
he consciously works to a programme that calls for 
the ideal solution for a particular time and a particu¬ 
lar place, he can hardly expect to apply a single fixed 
style for every building. In finding the correct image 
he will have to come to some conscious decisions 
about the ‘Style for the Job’ - and this is a phrase 
that belongs to the partnership of James Stirling 
and James Gowan more than to any other design 
office (even Eero Saarinen’s) in the recent history 
of architecture. 

But if ‘the style for the job’ was theirs, The New Bru¬ 
talisin' was not. They repudiated it both in spoken 
and printed statements, largely on the practical 
qrounds that it was not good public relations - a 
word like Brutalism, they felt, frightened off poten¬ 
tial clients as easily as it did most English critics, 
who tend to be both squeamish and hypersensitive 
about words. But this led to difficulties: Stirlings 
role as the man who introduced Jaoul to the English- 
speaking world linked his name closely to what was, 
by 1958 the canonical Brutalist building, and when, 
in that year, the Stirling and Gowan flats at Ham 

Common were completed, certain obvious af.imties 
to Jaoul made it almost impossible for critics and 

D orians to avoid calling them Brutalist. Agains 

1 th eir designers’ wishes, the subsequent usage of 
i the word has made these flats almost as canonically 

Brutalist as Jaoul itself. 

This purely linguistic shift in the meaning of the_ word 
has also had the effect of edging some other build¬ 
ings into the Brutalist canon. When the ‘Architectu¬ 
ral Review’ published the Ham Common flats .t 
associated with them (though without using the word 

Brutalist) some earlier houses by the Smithsons, by 
the variable partnership around William Howell and 

Stanley Amis, and by Stirling and Gowan themsel¬ 
ves and it might with justice have gone onto include 
^projected house by John Voelcker, al representing 
a sudden upsurge of architectural quality ,n English 
domestic design, all influenced in varying degrees 
. paiiadianism, the Modulor, Marseilles, etc, and 
m ca pable of being classed as ‘Brutalist’ without 
doing undue violence to the term All were also built 
. o simple repertoire of banal materials, chiefly 

ZZ3&X- brick. n=. on,, ou, o, ,„npa«,, 

Tor the nature of materials 'as found’ but also under 
the compulsion of a grinding economic necessity 
that made any but the most banal materials un¬ 
thinkable for small house-building. It was not only 
philosophical preference that made these young 
architects give heed to the ‘realities of the situation ; 
a brisk realism was the price of their survival. 

Stirling and Gowan’s conspicuous use of concrete 
at Ham Common stems, in part at least, from the 
fact that the iob was big enough to support the use 
of this ‘luxury’ material. Against this unwonted free¬ 
dom must be set the ‘realities’ of the site, so ridi- 

30 ‘Architectural Review’, October 1958 


culously long and narrow (it was the back garden of 
an old mansion called Langham House) that the 
only way to accommodate the legally permissible 
and economically desirable maximum number of 
apartments (30) while respecting the legal rights of 
adjoining land-owners to daylight and privacy, was 
to organise them in three detached blocks — a large 
one of three storeys, and two smaller ones of two 
storeys with identical plans, except that they are 
reversed left and right-handed. All three have brick 
bearing wall structures (of‘calculated brickwork’fre¬ 
quently reduced to the minimum section capable of 
carrying the load) and concrete floor slabs. In spite 
of the fact that these slabs are flat, not vaulted, and 
the planning is very different, the likeness to Jaoul 
is striking. The most profound difference is too 
subtle to register in many photographs — it is that 
Ham Common is neat where Jaoul is casual and un¬ 
tidy. The brickwor k i s careful , the exposed shutter- 
pattern ed^oncrete_is^ assertive than Le 

Corbusier’s and brick and concrete are not allow- 
ed to run messily tog ether (as at Jaoul) but firmly 
separated by a thin recessed detail. 

The dropped or ‘inverted-L’ window which makes 
one or two modest appearances at Jaoul, here be¬ 
comes a major theme, even being bent around cor¬ 
ners with mannerist zest (the presence of strip win¬ 
dows under the edge of the floor-slabs, leaving them 
unsupported for considerable lengths, and concen¬ 
trating the loads on narrow piers of brick, would be 
unthinkable without a fully-calculated structure). 
Projecting boxes, for ventilation, and water-spouts, 
take up a Jaoul theme. Internally the fireplaces be¬ 
come free-standing sculptures, floor-to-ceiling piers 
of brick carrying cantilevered concrete slabs — a 
compact summary of the main themes of the ex¬ 
terior, and of the ingenuity with which a few hints 
from the Maisons Jaoul have been expanded at Ham 
Common into a complete, rich and flexible style. 

But Jaoul is not the only ingredient of the style. 
Stirling always insisted that if there was influence 
from anywhere, there was another source besides 
Le Corbusier, and that was ‘de Stijl*. At first sight 
there may seem to be no connection between Ham 
Common’s coarse natural surfaces and the smooth 
abstract planes of, say, Rietveld’s Schroder house, 
nor do these boxy sections and squared-up silhouet¬ 
tes appear to owe much to the hoverings and spatial 
penetrations of neo-Plasticist aesthetics. Yet in the 
two-storey blocks with their almost totally glazed 
ends, one can appreciate the floor-slabs as planes 
in space, and the use of the strip window under the 
slabs on the side elevations gives a degree of visual 
independence to horizontal and vertical planes, 
while the handling of the woodwork at the corners 
of the windows often comes very close to Riet- 

But it is in the entrance-lobbies of these smaller 
blocks that the possible intervention of a neo-Plas¬ 
ticist aesthetic is most apparent. Effectively these 
lobbies are glazed links containing the stairs and 
joining the three apartments on each floor. The glaz¬ 
ed side-walls are continuous from floor to roof-slab 


because there is no intermediate slab at first-floor 
level, and instead of a floor there is a bridge, hung 
well inside the glass walls, connecting the three 
entrance-doors to the top of the stairs. Thus, the 
spatial effect of arriving on this bridge-landing from 
the stairs is not that of entering a closed space-box 
on a higher level, but of being raised midway up in 
a continuous space. Nothing comparable happens in 
Jaoul, nor is it ever common in Le Corbusier’s work. 
But something like it had happened before in British 
Brutal ism — the elevated walkways connecting the dif¬ 
ferent blocks of the Smithson’s Sheffield project —and 
u was to appear again in Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith’s gi¬ 
gantic Park Hill apartments in Sheffield, the biggest 
Brutalist building ever completed. The U-section pe¬ 
destrian bridge within a building complex is one of 
the few Brutalist thumb-prints that is not directly 
derived from Le Corbusier, yet survived creatively 
into the period when Corbusian idioms dominated 
the public idea of Brutalism. For this reason it is an 
important tell-tale which facilitates discrimination 
between Brutalism as a creative style and mere imi¬ 
tation of Le Corbusier. As Stirling and Gowan s later 
work shows, they were far from being disciples of 
the Master, and the use of the ‘topological bridges 
and de Stijl spatial aesthetics at Ham Common gave 
notice that, for them, the idiom of briques appar- 
entes’ and ‘gros beton arme’ was to be exploited, 
not slavishly imitated. 

For illustrations see page 110-123 

6.3 The Brutalist style 

Ham Common focussed a good deal of attention on 
Stirling and Gowan, outside Britain as well as within, 
and led to some retrospective speculation about 
their possible role as designers of buildings that 
had appeared over the signatures of various well- 
established offices in which they had worked as as¬ 
sistants. For instance, a workshop and scene-paint¬ 
ing building for the ‘Old Vic’ theatre in South Lon¬ 
don was published in the magazines just after Ham 
Common, and the architects were Lyons, Israel and 
Ellis, for whom both Stirling and Gowan had worked 
during the months immediately preceding the set¬ 
ting up of their independent practice. The style of 
the building was undoubtedly Brutalist - as the term 
was then understood, not only in its frank exposure 
of its materials, but also in the way that the pecul¬ 
iarities of the internal section (the need for a very 
high paint shop and a tall, narrow slot through which 
scenery could be taken across the road to the 
theatre) were allowed to dictate the external ap¬ 
pearance, rather than being concealed by a tidy 
external box in the manner previously in vogue. 

In spite of this, neither Stirling nor Gowan was in¬ 
volved in the design process, which appears to have 
been as follows (as far as it can be reconstructed): 
the basic functional solution was proposed by the 
middle partner Lawrence Israel, was converted to a 
recognisable architectural ‘parti’ by the third partner, 
Tom Ellis, and worked out in final detail by two as¬ 
sistants, Alan Colquhoun and John Miller (who later 
followed the Stirling and Gowan example and went 
into independent partnership together). The process 
is worth examining: Israel’s original functional break¬ 
down would have established the basic topological 
relationships between volume and volume; Ellis’s 
parti would be a work of some architectural sophisti¬ 
cation (he was held in high esteem by all the young¬ 
er architects who passed through the firm, for his 
architectural erudition as much as his ability as a 
designer); and that sophistication would probably be 
matched by that of the final detailing, for Colquhoun’s 
erudition was (and is) the match of anybody’s. All 
through the fifties he was one of the guardians 
of the intellectual conscience of his generation of 
London architects. Indeed, one of the most notable 
aspects of the work of Lyons, Israel and Ellis 
throughout this period was, quite simply, that its 
quality was high enough, and the office organisation 
flexible enough, for the partnership to attract, and 
hold, first-class talent as assistants. 

In this, it exemplifies the processes, motivations, 
and organisational methods by which Brutalism in 
Britain was tamed from a violent revolutionary out¬ 
burst to a fashionable vernacular. Wherever an esta¬ 
blished office can be found ‘converting’ to Brutal¬ 
ism, the presence of new assistants, fresh from the 
schools (where they probably studied under Smith- 
son or Stirling) and in touch with world events in 
architecture, can usually be taken for granted. So 
can an office organisation sufficiently relaxed, and 
partners sufficiently sympathetic, to give them the 


opportunity for creative work. So can the fact that 
the controlling partners had recognised in Brutalism, 
once called ‘the warehouse aesthetic’, a s tyle eco¬ 
nomically suited to the architectural require me nts.of 
an economy-minded society. 

On some such basis as this rests the efflorescence 
of Brutalism as a commercial vernacular in Britain 
in the six or seven years on either side of 1960, be¬ 
ginning, roughly, with the control-tower of Gatwick 
Airport (Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall, 1957) and 
running on to a sort of apotheosis in 1963—64 in such 
works as the externally flamboyant but internally 
conventional Eros House office-block in South Lon¬ 
don (Owen Luder, 1963), Churchill College, Cam¬ 
bridge (where it is married to traditional picturesque 
planning concepts), a much-modified competition 
winning design by Richard Sheppard, Robson and 
Partners (1964), or the first quadrangle of Sussex 
University, in which Sir Basil Spence’s office at¬ 
tempted to inflate the vaulted idiom of Jaoul to 
monumental proportions (1962—63). 

During the same period, the variety of architectural 
expression possible within the nominally Brutalist can¬ 
on can be seen, for example, in the interior concrete 
work of the Hille showrooms in London (1963) where 
Peter Moro handles shutter-patterns and exposed 
bolt-heads ‘a la Kahn’, with such delicacy that it re¬ 
sembles wall-paper, or in the penthouse-structure 
of Denys Lasdun’s slightly earlier block of flats in 
St James’s Place, where shutter-patterned concrete 
had been raised (or debased?) to the level of a fine- 
art material. Brutalism was certainly becoming ‘une 
architecture’, an idiom, a vernacular style; an aes¬ 
thetic universal enough to express a variety of archi¬ 
tectural moods, even if it had lost some of the moral 
fervour that had illuminated its earlier pretensions 
to be an ethic. 

In the same period, other trends loosely called Bru¬ 
talist can be seen coming to fruition. The younger ar¬ 
chitects at the LCC hat their revenge for the ideolo¬ 
gical difficulties of the pre-Kruschev regime, and the 
fifties closed with an architectural triumph for their 
viewpoint. The second phase of the Roehampton 
development (Alton West) scorns Swedish or em¬ 
piricist design methods, and the slab blocks over¬ 
looking the sloping lawn which is the heart of the 
development unequivocally reveal the Corbusian 
convictions of their designers. Very much like Ham 
Common, they mark a crucial stage in the evolution 
of a general-purpose idiom from one of Le Cor¬ 
busier’s special cases, but whereas an equal sub¬ 
jection to a brick-building status-quo unites Ham 
Common and Jaoul, the greater technical and eco¬ 
nomic resources of the LCC enabled the designers 
of Alton West to go forward from the propositions 
inherent in the ‘Unite’ at Marseilles. 

By this time, the technical resources of the LCC 
were considerably greater than those available on 
the ‘chantier’ at Marseilles, more sophisticated and 
more precise, with the curious result that the ex¬ 
tensive use of precast cladding elements gives an 
air of that preoccupation with repetitive rectangular 
geometry that Pevsner had identified as peculiarly 

English. Anglicised, the coarse, swaggering, pachy¬ 
dermatous forms of Marseilles, become stiff, formal 
and elegant in the ‘little unites’ of Roehampton. To 
be fair, some other LCC variants on the theme (such 
as the blocks at Bentham Road) have a less spindly 
sub-structure and have more of the swagger of the 
original, and some of the smaller blocks at Roe¬ 
hampton which exhibit more genuine ‘beton brut’ 
around the staircases at the ends (especially the 
terraces of shops) also seem to have pioneered the 
use of a Corbusian concept that had hitherto re¬ 
mained on paper — the narrow path, stepped or 
ramped, passing through a terrace of deep-plan 
units (here shops with apartments over and back¬ 
yards behind) which first appeared in the Sainte- 
Baume and ‘Roq et Rob’ projects. 

The end-walls and staircases of these blocks also 
bear a distinct family relationship to the end-walls 
and stairs of the residential blocks of the Portales 
neighbourhood unit at Quinta Normal, outside San¬ 
tiago, Chile. It seems extremely unlikely that there 
is any direct connection between the two schemes, 
or that the architects (Bresciani, Valdes, Castillo and 
Huidobro) had any direct acquaintance with the 
LCC architects. Brutalism was becoming a style of 
wide diffusion from its original sources, but those 
sources still had sufficient authority to stamp a 
fairly consistent image on all their derivatives, even 
if the exact links in the chain of relationships can¬ 
not be established. 

Sometimes, however, the connections are clear. 
Andre Wogenscky’s house for his own occupation at 
Remy-les-CItevreuses in France, is strikingly Cor¬ 
busian, and differently so from most of the English 
derivatives — and for the very good reason that he 
was ‘homme de charge’ in Le Corbusier’s office. 
Where it differs from the English work is, for ex¬ 
ample, in the use of references to the chapel at 
Ronchamp (rare in English Brutalism of domestic 
scale) in the form of the boiler house at ground level 
and in the structures on the roof, and in the use of a 
few random windows here and there. But like much 
of the English work it relies on Modulor dimensions, 
makes extensive use of vertical shutter-patterns and 
gargoyles (though these are the tapering Ronchamp 
type again). Parts of the house, however, are clad in 
white limestone slabs, almost in the manner of the 
Master’s panelled facades of the thirties (such as the 
Pavilion Suisse) and there are other devices, such 
as the projecting-box brise-soleil which recall ear¬ 
lier work. Wogenscky, in fact, was not influenced 
solely by the work being done in the office while the 
house was being designed: his view of Le Corbusier 
has greater historical depth to it, even a touch of 

A similar eclectic and historical approach can be 
seen in Brutalism of the Swiss school, not only in 
obvious examples like Dolf Schnebli’s holiday house 
at Campione d’ltalia, but also throughout the work 
of such distinguished design teams as ‘Atelier 5’ — 
Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, Rolf Hesterberg, Hans 
Hostettler, Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini and 
Fritz Thormann. The most important work of this 

team, Siedlung Halen near Berne, will be disco ^ 
later, but their minor works can conveniently ^ a |jst 
viewed here as a contribution to a growing Br u ^ 
tradition. Their contribution to that tradition ' s n 
standingly their skill in using a variety of Corb .^* |C jal 
devices, large and small, to build up an artl ^ e \\i- 
‘maniera’, which they employed with great ,n jt€ > 
gence, verve and good taste, without ever ^ e d 
welding it into an idiom as personal as that achi 
by, say, Stirling and Gowan at Ham Common. the ir 
For this reason they are often criticised ^ 0 

eclecticism, even though a sympathetic crit,C dic a- 
Neave Brown could say of their ‘eclectic P re 


"... The eclecticism of Atelier 5 or any other f 9 fa jth- 
with a similar attitude is something of an act o to 
It affirms that if the future course is not cle ^ g{ ._ 
progress at all it is necessary to adopt the sue ^ 
ful forms and idioms of the immediate pas ’ e j i 
thus avoid working endlessly over the same g r ^ js 
or degenerating into a chaotic individualism- 
therefore wise to choose the best source . • • 


and for Atelier 5 the best source was unequ' v< ^. ght 
Le Corbusier. But they cannot be accused of s of 
plagiarism, and this is due largely to their d ®P ina - 
historical perspective on the master. New co ge 
tions of given forms alter their meanings and ^ |dQ 
new meanings are knowingly exploited. As 
Rossi put it 32 : 

“Also, forms derived from typical usages of the gr® ^ 
French Master, eventually become stabilised 
new footing and with a new meaning in 
ferent context." 

The part played by their depth of historical percep^ 
tion in establishing these transformed meaning use 
be seen even in quite small works, such as t e 
at Rothrist completed in 1958. The exterior vvl . atTl p 
plank shuttered exposed concrete, its cu t 

gargoyles and random windows, its roof <9 
down from the upper works of the parliament n 
at Chandigarh - all this is ‘brut Corbu’ of the f,ft ’ 
but in its sections the house belongs to ® n ° _ 

epoch entirely. As a habitable volume it is e ec 
ly a box on stilts, a solution virtually abandonee y 
the master after the war. Within that volume 1 
fers the ‘studio-house section’ double heig , !*Vr h 
room with a balcony across the back and, a ° . 
versions of that section were used by Le Cor u 
in most of the ‘Unites’, it appears here in so - 
thing more like the format, scale and domes 
function for which it was first devised in the ear y 
twenties. At the other end of the block is a s ® n 
room on the second floor, recessed back from the 
visible frame at that point and overlooking a pro¬ 
jecting terrace with stair to ground level — a clear 
restatement of the ‘terrasses’ which gave the name 

31 ‘Architectural Design’, February 1963 
33 ‘Casabella’ no. 258, 1961 


to the villa Stein at Garches of 1926-28; though, 
clipped to the side of a long narrow block such as 
this, it also recalls slightly earlier projects which 
survive only in the pages of the ‘Oeuvre complete’. 
Similar restatements, similar transformations, occur 
throughout their work of the period, though their 
formalism is kept within bounds, partly by their re¬ 
spect for their ‘best source’ and partly by a certain 
sense of architectural decencies that prevents them 
ever mistaking architecture for sculpture as Walter 
Forderer, Rolf Otto and Hans Zwimpfer did in their 
over-wrought display of ‘de Stijl’ mannerisms in the 
school at Aesch which is sometimes mistakenly com¬ 
pared with Atelier 5’s work, simply because of its 
‘brut’ concrete. Atelier 5 avoid such extremism, they 
prefer to simplify, as in the way they reduce the 
variable idiom of Le Corbusier’s factory at St Die 
to the much simpler language of their own factory at 
Thun. Many of the details (such as the brise-soleil) 
are virtually identical; the difference in total effect 
illustrates as clearly as anything in Modern Archi¬ 
tecture could, the difference between an intelligent 
follower and an original creator. Atelier 5’s factory 
reassuringly demonstrates the coherence that comes 
from consistency, a faultless exercise within the 
limits of a given style; Le Corbusier’s startlingly 
affirms that coherence can also come from the 
disturbing inconsistencies that arise from the exer¬ 
cise of a major creative talent. 


‘ M*l!; 


mmmmm v .^ 

1 10 —113 

^ Corbusier; La Sainte-Baume 
pouches du Rhone, France), 

"grimage Centre (La Cite Permanente), 
first -—= • — - 

Project. 1948 

. -J'.vi. I ytto 


^ an ’ er| d elevation, the central part of 
the facade 

^2/ li 3 


orspectivo. plans, and section 
s cale 1:500) of a typical apartment 










k*g^; x4m3 

Mv>. fJ-vvM » 









Le Corbusier; Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris, France), 
'Petite Maison de Weekend'. 1935 

Interior and plan (scale 1:200) 


Le Corbusier; Lake Constance (Switzerland), 
Fueter House project. 1950 

South elevation, plan, and section (scale 1:200) 

I I 

3! w v* IT,ir 




: k 


-•TT 1 1'rlWWH f. 



View from entrance ramp 


e astGrn hou: 


' -ji 

1 • 




. I3v 


- • J 

^ i«i'' itl 

^*a « 

*»■/* M* 

• /• 

.\> : %* • 


T y r 




• *4 1 Jl 

' — . I 
• v - 


James Stirling and James Gowan; Ham Common (London, England), 
Langham House Development. 1958 


Site plan 

142 (right) 

Garden elevation of three-storey block 


if entrance 


First-floor bridge in two-storey 


Elevation of two-storey block 



John Voelcker; Arkley (Hertfordshire, 
England), Lyttleton House. 1956 


Entrance front, living-room block 
151 / 152 

Plan and section through courtyard 
(scale 1:200) 

1 courtyard 

2 entrance 

3 toilet 

4 living room 

5 music room 

6 dining area 

7 kitchen 

8 playroom 

9 bedroom 
10 bathroom 

153- 158 

William G Howell, Gillian Howell and Stanley Amis; 
Hampstead (London, England), Terrace Housing. 1956 

Balcony over living room and kitchen area 

154- 157 

Plans at second, first, ground floor and basement levels 
(scale 1:500) 13 convector heater 

1 storage 14 stairs down 

2 coal 15 coal delivery hole 

3 toilet 16 grating over open area 

4 utility room 17 entrance porch 

5 boiler 18 study 

6 studio 19 garage 

7 kitchen 20 conservatory 

8 living room 21 sitting room 

9 spare room 22 void over living room 

10 bathroom 23 bedroom 

11 open area 24 dining / kitchen 

12 cycle and dustbin store 25 water tanks 

1 1 / \ 




f OO 


, . 


i l 


3SF l 






1— 1 t” 

“ J io 
” ^1_21 



2 s r 


ir— r 

— — 



11 31 

ii 1 * 


! jy 1 L 

! * 



Garden front 


1 - 

1 1 






|*“ ' 


r .y| 

w , . ~ —— “"T 


1 "• 





‘' rfB 



^71 I 

r ^1 

■ [J 





[ J 

P« ■ 


0 iirtih 




/h ■ 

t ‘»_ ^ J 





Sir Basil Spence and Partners; Brighton (England) 
University of Sussex. 1962/63 
First courtyard, entrance passage 

• r_j£ : i • 

1 1 


F): I 


filH -» 


I ’ * 

■ ; :: 1: ’ - 


| • • x 
r '' - 


1 1 

Peter Moro; London (England) 
Hille Furniture Shop. 1963 

Display area 


Denys Lasdun and Partners; 
London (England), 

Flats in St James’s Place. 1961 

Garden wall of penthouse 

\ \ V )• I 

’ j 

^ -J ■ 'z—J 


L* a 





Gable walls of slab blocks 


Close up of pilotis and space under a slab block 


Social service building under slab block 


■ •*-» 


"mm i nmmni 







• l 










Gable walls of slab blocks 


Close up of pilotis and space under a slab block 


Social service building under slab block 



; || B 




B . .I?*** 



: HI 



Detail of stairway-passage and end staircase of block of shops 


Bresciani, Valdes, Castillo and Huidobro; 
Quinta Normal Housing. 1961-63 

External staircase, gable wall of six-storey 

block two storey 

EH FTrr ' 

titt - rn 

lumu mil 1 — -U 




Atelier 5 (Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, 
Rolf Hesterberg, Hans Hostettler, 
Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini); 
Rothrist (Switzerland), Alder House. 1958 

Rear elevation, terrace side 


SjX * '' *' 4 


Le Corbusier; St Die (France), Factory. 1950 


Rolf Hesterberg, 
, Alfredo Pini); 





V iftf 




, ~ 


' -y££z-~l 

• T 1 





Walter Forderer, 
School. 1962 

Entrance stenc i 

impfer; Aesch (Switzerland) 


7 Hard cases: the Brick Brutalists 

Around the succession of buildings which belong to 
the main stream of Brutalist development, critics 
have grouped others which, for the purposes of ar¬ 
gument, might be regarded as Brutalist, or might 
not. It is difficult, to know where to place Sverre 
Fehn and Geir Grung’s museum'at Maihaugen in 
Norway. Both men are members of that network of 
British connections with Norway which is sometimes 
humorously called the ‘Arctic Circle', and Grung, 
like Norway’s senior member of Cl AM, Arne Korsmo, 
was present at the Otterlo congress in 1959. The 
museum might well be regarded as an attempt to 
find an ideal solution for a difficult site, and it sports 
a certain amount of ‘brut’ concrete on its exposed 
roof-slabs. But in a world of architecture as small 
as that in Norway, every major building is so much 
of an unique occasion that it is dangerous to try to 
link it to any particular movement. 

Many of these hard cases are churches - obviously 
a confluence between a puritan aesthetic and a 
puritan ethic might be looked for in the Protestant 
connection, but not all the likely candiates have a 
Lutheran or Calvinist background. Figini and Pollini’s 
Santa Maria dei Poveri in Milan prompted Kidder 
Smith to observe that its exterior “suggests more a 
warehouse than a church” and he described the in¬ 
terior as ‘near-brutal’ but there is a good deal of 
justice in his proposition that this is in the estab¬ 
lished tradition (compare the present state of many 
Renaissance churches) of not bothering with finishes 
and cladding once the shell of the church was 
weathertight. In the Protestant connection, however, 
a lack of obvious ‘finish’ is more likely to be delib¬ 
erate. The bare concrete block-work and precast 
beams of van den Broeck and Bakema s church at 
Nagele in Holland seems to represent the same 
ethic and aesthetic as is seen in the bare white¬ 
washed interiors of other temples of the Hervormd 
Kerk’; the shelter wall that wraps around the adjoin¬ 
ing courtyard is an attempt to create the necessary 
shelter required for ‘that particular place (a bleak, 
newly-reclaimed polder). 

But the hardest case, certainly the most enigmatic, 
is Sigurd Lewerentz’s Markuskyrka outside Stock¬ 
holm. It is a building that would greatly enrich the 
Brutalist canon if it could safely be included within 
it, but how convincing could such a classification be 
made? It is not the revolutionary outburst of a dis¬ 
sident young architect, nor is it a work of opportun¬ 
ism on the part of a middle-aged and successful 
architect adapting to a change of fashion. Lewerentz 
is of an age with Le Corbusier (he was born in 1885) 
and the church seems to be the unexpected product 
of a long process of architectural maturity. It com¬ 
bines shallow vaulting, plane and curved walls — all 
in resolutely coarse brickwork that makes Jaoul 
look rather inhibited — with a concept of plan, space 
and geometry that has nothing in common with any 
of the Brutalist buildings that use brick in any relat¬ 
ed manner. In some ways this is very ‘other’ archi¬ 
tecture: Lewerentz’s command of architectural form 

is secure and explicit, and yet the building has a 
genuine informality, a relaxed indifference to such 
concepts as ‘rectangle’ that goes far beyond the 
forms of, say, the Smithson Sheffield scheme. How¬ 
ever casual the grouping of the buildings in that 
project may have been, the individual parts still 
answer to a few regular geometrical archetypes, 
whereas the plan of the Markuskyrka is studiedly 
irresolute about such archetypes, especially at the 
altar end, where the walls vary in thickness and curve 
away in various directions — echoing the formal in¬ 
difference of those mediaeval castle builders whom 
Louis Kahn so much admires but shows no desire 
to imitate. When one observes how this ‘other’ archi¬ 
tecture is the work of a man firmly grounded in the 
Scandinavian traditions of neo-Classical order and 
picturesque sensibility, one cannot help wondering 
if Hans Asplund, in coining the term ‘Neo-Brutalist’, 
was not identifying a trend that might have emerg¬ 
ed anyhow, without any assistance at all from Le 
Corbusier, Louis Kahn or the British. 

But, in the end, the Markuskyrka remains an enigma; 
it poses a question but illuminates no possible 
answer, least of all about the other Brick Brutalists. 
This sub-category or marginal grouping of doubtful 
Brutalists, to which Stirling and Gowan might be 
taken to belong at the time of Ham Common, is not 
perhaps to be taken too seriously, especially since 
the use of brick is not the main factor they have in 
common, merely the most obvious. As between Ham 
Common, Oswald Mathias Ungers’s house in Co¬ 
logne, and the extension to the architecture school 
at Cambridge University, there is no agreement as 
to external form, detailing or spatial aesthetics. What 
they have in common is great erudition and sophis¬ 
tication, worn with a flourish, about the recent his¬ 
tory of Modern Architecture. 

With Ungers, his sophisticated awareness seems at 
times more like an inflamed sensibility. It spills out 
of him in conversation, it gives him a response to 
modern masterpieces that can be personal and vio¬ 
lent, yet his part in the organisation of the ‘Glaserne 
Kette’ exhibition in 1963 shows that it can be put to 
disciplined and scholarly ends. His house is a ma¬ 
nifesto-building, and although it could have been 
built at no other time than the late fifties (the en¬ 
closed garden courts in particular seem to belong to 
that time) it evokes remarkable echoes of the archi¬ 
tecture of thirty years before. For a start, its loca¬ 
tion, at the end of a street and attached to a house 
in an earlier style, recalls the siting of Rietveld s 
Schroder house in Utrecht, though its detailed archi¬ 
tectural idiom has less connection with de Stijlthan 
with more cautious Dutch derivatives from the work 
of Frank Lloyd Wright. In any case, its main affinities 
tie it more directly to Germany, to Erich Mendel¬ 
sohn’s early houses in Berlin (eg the Stern house), 
to Hugo Haring's farm at Garkau, and even, in the 
way the garden structures relate the main mass of 
the house to the street, to some of the terracing 
around the houses of the Weissenhofsiedlung. It is 
very striking that in a generation that was well aware 
of the innovations offered by Haring at Garkau (it 

_____ one of the Smithsons’ favourite ‘images') Un- 
gers should be the only Brutalist of any sort to make 
any kind of architectural reference to that much- 
admired source. 

For reasons such as these, Ungers’s house is per¬ 
haps the only building of quality in Northern Europe 
that can be compared to the work of the Neoliber- 
tarians in Italy, though any such comparison would 
certainly go in Ungers’s favour, since his erudition 
is far better digested, far more apt to the type of 
building he had to design, and far less restricting to 
his imagination. Even so, it is still far more directly 
involved with historical interests than is the com¬ 
parable work of the English Brick Brutalists, even 
erudite members of the ‘Cambridge School’ who re¬ 
present the extreme intellectual wing of the move¬ 
ment in England. 

Nevertheless, the Cambridge movement begins 
with a manifesto building almost contemporary with 
Ungers’s house. The extension to the school of archi¬ 
tecture was designed by Alex Hardy and Colin A 
St J Wilson (the same Sandy Wilson mentioned in 
1.2) in 1957-58, and into this relatively small building 
were poured most of the intellectual aspirations of 
the Wilson, Smithson generation; it is one of the 
most eclectic designs ever to be packed into an 
anonymous-looking brick box. 

Yet even the exterior of that box betrays some of 
the intellectual concerns that run through the whole 
design, for the heights of the two storeys, as re¬ 
vealed by the exposed concrete edges of the floor 
and roof-slabs, are related by the Golden Section 
ratio (which underlies the ‘Modulor’, of course) and 
a consistent proportional obsession runs through 
the relations of the windows to one another and to 
the facades on the exterior, and penetrates the re¬ 
lationships of even the smallest designed details of 
the interior. Many of these internal details give 
instant information about the interests and pre¬ 
dilections of the architects. Thus the elevated ‘pulpit’ 
which carries the projector for the slides used in 
lectures, recalls in its bulk form the Elementarist 
sculpture of a Malevitsch or a Vantongerloo; but it 
carries a concrete shelf recalling the forms of the 
brise-soleils of the Secretariat in Chandigarh, and 
is reached by a tubular ladder in the manner of the 
Machine Aesthetic of the twenties. But the game of 
intellectual cross-references also embraces the less 
obvious machine aesthetics of the 1950's, and the 
lecturer at the reading desk finds himself confronted 
with a battery of controls with which to adjust the 
natural and artificial lighting and communicate with 
the projectionist. 

Yet, intellectual sports aside, this is a fundamentally 
simple and workmanlike building containing reason¬ 
able and necessary accommodation for the teaching 
of architecture — lecture and criticism rooms on the 
upper floor, tuition rooms and a crypt-like common- 
room on the floor below. Its means of architectural 
expression are few — brick, concrete and wood — 
but they completely dominate the visual aesthetic, 
and the architects were at some pains to ensure that 
they did so, with the result that the walls are uncom- 


gib > s 

monly thick ( 13 V 2 inches) for the sake of rer1 t- 

to offer the right kind of effect of br\q^ e ' banC l|ed 

es’ on both sides. All these elements qqS th at 
with a didactic fervour and moral 0 j aS Tayl° r 

strike a familiar Brutalist note; as ^ 
says in ‘Cambridge New Architecture • naC curacie s 

“Paint and plaster which normally cover 1 ^ e ven' 

and birthmarks of building are exc u e ’ are left 
the bolt-holes for the stairway shutter 

exposed”, aesthetic of ma- 

or, in other words, the ethic ana c oncentra- 

terials ‘as found’. Perhaps because enC y could 
tion of intellectual effort and didactic: u idiom 

not be repeated, later buildings in lS £ cbo ol does 

are less successful, and the Cambri 9 e ^.j Harvey 

not really strike its best form again Q a j US Col- 
Court, a residential hostel for studen s ^ Patrick 
lege, Cambridge. Designed by Wi ^°^ e | a g e of Sir 
Hodgkinson, and under the genera proposition 
Leslie Martin, it makes a very diffe re " | an jt con- 
to the Architecture School extension. ^ j a square 
sists of four ranges of student rooms ar ^ section, 
court, in the English collegiate tra 1 j n that the 
however, it departs from that tra 1 10 terraces 
rooms are stepped back floor by f ° or ^ the south 
in front; also, the short range of ro ^ r V S g jt s back to 
side is turned to face outward an a ^ e court is 
the court. Another departure is t a ^ bove ground 
raised the equivalent of one storey ^ bar un der 
level, and has service rooms and a sna truncated 
it, lit by a large skylight in the f° r ™ cQ urt. The 
pyramid which rises off-centre m position 

level, and has service rooms and a sna truncated 
it, lit by a large skylight in the forI ^ e GO urt. The 
pyramid which rises off-centre in position 

whole concept thus adopts an equiv sjty arc hj- 

vis-a-vis the ‘status quo’ in Bntis n of ur ban 

tecture, accepting a mediaeval r ban garden 
planning of doubtful validity for a .. jt in the 

site in the twentieth century, only 0 living- 
interests of other concepts of com ™Tcanon derives 
Its claim to inclusion in the Bruta ■ chosen ma _ 

partly from its obsessive interest i vjeW| tQ be 

terial, for it appears, from some po. t though 

a most carved from a solid mas cra ftsmanly 

close examination reveals some y . 
brick details (as if the architects a M!eg v 

fresher course in detailing from sue e houses'* 
der Rohe buildings as the Wolf and La " g f ** 

But even more, its claim to inclusion sterns from its 

planning concept, related to the Sm « p | ace , 

in ancient sites. It aims to create a ai oraus ^ +u^ 
and has the air of a sacred ^'^^erraced back, 

they 0 do not enXse the central c0 %\!° s ™ u tjf 0 * S 
form an amphitheatre around it. From e «. . . ® 

reaches the court by mounting a broa 0 

ceremonial steps (as if to the terraces a en- 

Itza, for example) and is then confron e , e 
altar-skylight in a raised court that does n er 

one from the elements so much as offer o he 

sky. It is a strange, moving and quite un ng ish 
place, having no relationship with anyt m 9 e in 
Cambridge, not even the quasi-Brutal bui ings of 

i •< q6 4 

33 Nicholas Taylor, ‘Cambridge New Architecture , 

For illustrations see page 153—163 

Churchill College, not even with the small residen 
tial cluster that forms the first, and better, part of 
the Churchill development. It is doubtful if Harvev 
Court, in the end, relates to anything and - as has 
been said - its relationship to Brutalism is arguable 
especially as the architects were not consciouslj 
committed to Brutalism as a deliberate programme 
It is doubtful, of course, if any architect other than 
the Smithsons was so committed — with the bafflino 
exception, to which we should now turn, of Vit- 
toriano Vigano in Milan. 

8.1 Istituto Marchiondi, Milan 

Vigano’s Istituto Marchiondi was one of the major 
surprises of European architecture in the late fifties. 
At a time when most Italian architects seemed to be 
sinking into comfortable compromise with the poli¬ 
tico/clerical regime, into submission to the specu¬ 
lators who had ‘le mani sulla citta’, and thus control¬ 
led the progress of building, Vigand produced this 
‘habitat’ for an organisation whose programme of 
psychological rehabilitation was outside the normal 
church-controlled pattern of charity; at a time when 
the acceptance of compromise was being expres¬ 
sed in the sentimental formalism of Neoliberty, he 
offered a tough-minded and unsentimental building 
(which has gravely offended tender-minded senti¬ 
mentalists from all over the world); and at a time 
when great historical casuistry was being exercised 
to justify Neoliberty’s betrayal of the promise of the 
Italian Rationalist movement, Vigand peremptorily 
condemned them all by employing an architectural 
idiom that recalled the fervour and discipline of the 
pre-war ‘architettura razionalista’. 

This point about the building’s parentage is impor¬ 
tant, because it lends substance to its claim to be 
Brutalist, but most foreign critics have overlooked 
it, and even Renato Pedio, in his presentation of the 
Istituto Marchiondi in ‘L’Architettura’ 34 , keeps the 
historical references unspecific and generalised: 

^ “Brutalism, according to the English critic Reyner 
Banham, signifies, in architecture: 

1 the building as an unified visual image, clear and 

2 clear exhibition of its structure, 

3 a high valuation of raw, untreated materials 

; This alternative definition is adduced from ‘L’Espres- 
so’, 2 March 1958: clean virgin surfaces; heavily cor¬ 
rugated volumes, but of prismatic simplicity; services 
exposed to view: zones of violent colour. Brutalism 
is thus a taste for self-sufficient architectonic ob¬ 
jects, aggressively placed in their surroundings; it is 
an energetic affirmation of the structure, the revenge 
of mass and plasticity over the aesthetics of match¬ 
boxes and cardboard; it aims to profit (on the basis 
of historical study but outside academic categories) 
from the lessons of Modern Architecture stripped of 
all literary excuses. It is a method of working, cer¬ 
tainly not a recipe for poesy. And if, on the one hand 
its polemical power now seems reduced (especially 
outside its native England) its strong moral basis, on 
the other hand, distils the most significant essence 
from the now long history of Modern Architecture. 
This moral chastity, these rigorous standards of 
conduct in face of the world; this courage and re¬ 
volutionary spirit, could lead back to a truer sense 
of the relation between architecture and society, 
currently obscured by nostalgic revivalism. 

Though Pedio, making a polemical defence, names 
no historical sources, trend-spotters have always 


34 ‘L’Architettura’, February 1959 

regarded the building as fair game, and have usually 
classed it with attempts to revive the architecture of 
‘de StijP. Thus Nikolaus Pevsner in his famous lec¬ 
ture on Neo-Historicism 35 , after discussing the re¬ 
vival of ‘de StijP in funiture design, went on to say: 

“In architecture, neo-de-Stijl is, I think, just as strik¬ 
ing. Illustration 19 is a building at Harlem by the 
Dutch architect J. W. E. Buys, and illustration 20 
shows not another view of the same building but the 
Marchiondi Institute in Milan, by Vittoriano Vigano 
of 1957.” 

But this was not how Vigano saw the situation; he 
admitted, even claimed influence from Giuseppe 
Terragni above all others, and the buildings abound 
in details, especially window-details, that recall Ter¬ 
ragni fairly directly. Beyond this, the manner in which 
the main forms and exposed structure of the build¬ 
ings transcend the expressive language of the Ra¬ 
tionalist movement, has less to do with ‘de StijP 
than with the manifest spatial ambitions revealed by 
Terragni’s preoccupation with exposed frames, open 
stairs and bridges penetrating volumes from side to 
side. It is as if Vigand were going forward from 
where Terragni left off, while those of Terragni’s ge¬ 
neration who survived were going backwards from 
that point. If one were to extrapolate Terragni’s ar¬ 
chitecture forward from his last pre-war projects 
into a post-war situation that contained the Jaoul 
houses and the work of Kenzo Tange, one might 
well produce something like Marchiondi. 

Yet one may suspect that what Vigano really sought 
from Terragni and the history of the Rationalist 
movement was less a formal aesthetic than a func¬ 
tional ethic. If, in 1956, one were to set out to design 
a school in Italy there were very few native examples 
for study that were not an affront to human dignity 
and the decent aspirations of pedagogy, and of 
those few, two were of outstanding interest — the 
tuberculosis colony at Legnano by BBPR, Gianluigi 
Banfi, Lodovico B. Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti, Er¬ 
nesto N. Rogers (1938) and Terragni’s Asilo Sant' 
Elia in Como, completed a year earlier. The Asilo 
could have contributed formal usages (such as 
frames standing clear of the volumes they support) 
but more than that it would suggest a severe and 
calm educational ambience, and this would be re¬ 
inforced by the example of Legnano, which stood, 
in some ways, closer to Vigand’s own problem of a 
curative institute. 

Functionally, the Istituto Marchiondi is a residential 
rehabilitative school for psychologically disturbed 
boys, run on firm and progressive lines, and former¬ 
ly accommodated in unsuitable and run-down pre¬ 
mises in Central Milan. There has been much specu¬ 
lation about the motives behind the severe aesthetic 
of Vigand s design, which in many detailed ways re¬ 
sembles Hunstanton redone with a concrete frame, 
even though the bulk form is more complex; how far 

35 Reprinted in 'Journal of the Royal Institute of British Archi¬ 
tects', April 1961 

does it derive from the psychiatric programme? 
There were many at one time who, observing its 
differences from Vigano’s other works, dismissed it 
as ‘a mere styling job’, architecto-psychiatric fancy- 
dress. This was a plausible enough argument to put 
forward around 1960 when Milan was the world 
centre for facile fashion-mongering, but a second 
visit and mature reflection will not support the idea. 
The building convinces, and is all of a piece; and 
this is the more remarkable in view of some of the 
very extreme devices employed by Vigano. For in¬ 
stance, each dormitory-room is crossed by a typical 
brutalist pedestrian bridge half way up, connecting 
the lavatory, which is also at the higher level, to a 
balcony containing clothes cupboards at the other 
end of the dormitory — the cupboards being double¬ 
sided, with staff access to the far side from a 
corridor not normally used by the boys. By this 
desperate-seeming shift, Vigano is able to offer the 
legally required minimum volume per boy without 
making the floor area of the room ridiculously and 
inhumanly large, and then exploit the double height 
to give boys and staff separate access to the cup¬ 
boards. Doubtless there would be simpler methods 
of achieving these results, but there seem to be no 
particular functional or structural advantages that 
would result, and there may be some psychiatric 
advantages in making a trip to the lavatory or cup¬ 
boards something of a public ceremony, if the dormi¬ 
tory is not directly supervised by one of the staff. 
In any case, this device has the conviction of ex¬ 
tremism that informs the rest of the design. Even if 
Vigano and his clients consciously decided on Bru- 
talism as the only style (they seem rather to have 
achieved this decision by mutual persuasion and 
analysis of their problem) it clearly was not out of 
merely fashionable preference. It is part of the real 
presence of the building — handsome in sunlight, 
intimidating in bad weather — and emphasises that 
‘moral chastity’ of which Pedio had written. On this 
score of a sternly moral building as part of a re¬ 
formative educational programme, it is interesting to 
compare Marchiondi with Aldo van Eyck’s orphanage- 
school in Amsterdam. Here is a building designed by 
an architect in far closer touch with the Smithsons 
and the origins of Brutalism than Viganb was, and 
working with a repertoire of materials that — as cat¬ 
alogued in purely verbal description — sounds the 
same as Vigano’s: concrete, brick, wood, glass. 
Some of the interior spaces, such as the common 
room at the Istituto Marchiondi and the play-room 
for very small children at the orphanage, even look 
rather alike in photographs. But the effect is very 
different in reality: Marchiondi is stern, but the 
orphanage is very gentle, the final disproof that ex¬ 
posed brick and concrete are ‘inhuman’. Vigand’s 
building, therefore, is the more Brutalist in the com¬ 
mon usage of the term, the purely aesthetic, but in 
terms of the ‘ethic’ of Brutalism, the two schools are 
on an even footing, both serious attempts at the 
right human environment, or habitat, for a particu¬ 
lar human situation in place and time. What one can¬ 
not be certain about, however, is how Vigand him- 


self would have regarded this comparison of the two 
buildings in 1958 or 59. He had, after all, just per¬ 
formed the unique feat of consciously joining the 
Brutalist movement, and the feeling emerges from 
conversation with him, that he was joining a tough, 
stern movement. And those who insist that Brutalism 
is an affair of exposed concrete, rough brickwork 
and a deliberate disregard for the traditional graces 
of Modern Architecture would probably agree with 
him, and regard Marchiondi as the harbinger of the 
high period of concrete Brutalism: a harvest-season 
exemplified in three notable habitats completed at 
this time or a little later, one in Switzerland, one in 
Japan, and one in Britain. 


BBPR (Gianluigi Banfi, Lodovico B. Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti, 
Ernesto N. Rogers); Legnano (Italy), Sanatorium. 1937 
The sun-porch and a general view 

Giuseppe Terragni; Como (Italy), Asilo Sant'Elia. 1937 


For illustrations see page 164—188 

8.2 Habitats: Halen, Harumi, Sheffield 

The preoccupation with habitat, the total built envi¬ 
ronment that shelters man and directs his move¬ 
ments, is a continuing theme that connects together 
many diverse Brutalist buildings, and connects Bru- 
talism with other progressive thinking (and action) 
outside the field of architecture. This preoccupa¬ 
tion with the ‘dwelling of Man’ arose, in the post¬ 
war years, from a real sense of social need — a 
need for dwellings, a need for better dwelling- 
habitat than society was, in fact, providing. But it 
remains true that Brutalist practice in habitat has 
never even tried to deal with the ‘total’ environment, 
the practice has been dominated by purely visual 
images, purely spatial concepts. Weak on the me¬ 
chanical and communicative services needed for a 
fully effective habitat, Brutalism as a movement con¬ 
centrated on the domestication of a few basic re¬ 
sidential and social concepts derived from Le Cor¬ 
busier, and from that mythology of a ‘Mediterranean 
way of life’ that had grown up under his influence, 
and under the influence of such modern Italian 
habitats as Quaroni’s work at La Martella. Thus, the 
work of Paul Rudolph that most persistently receives 
tVie epithet ‘Brutalist’, is not his Art and Architecture 
Building at Yale with its artfully coarse concrete 
surfaces, but his married-student housing for the 
I same university, of which he himself wrote 36 : 

“It should look like a village, not like housing ... 
though parts are repeated, they don’t look it. Tradi¬ 
tional housing has used repeated housing units, but 
it doesn’t bore. We too must repeat but not bore. 
Spaces in between the units are important... court¬ 
yards and terraces, paths and entrances.” 

In the choice of image: ‘like a village’ (in its built 
form, specifically a mountain village), and its con¬ 
cern with public spaces: “courtyards and terraces, 
paths and entrances”, this habitat reveals all too 
clearly its origins, as does the implied ambition to 
create a literally built-in sense of community. But 
narrow and restricted as the range of basic con¬ 
cepts may be, it remains a bitter truth that the world 
at large was not building better habitats, more con¬ 
vincing communities, than Le Corbusier had envi¬ 
saged, and it remains the chief glory of the younger, 
or more brutal, Brutalists that they occasionally con¬ 
trived to surpass the Corbusian standard or propose 
significant variations upon it. The three major sche¬ 
mes which are discussed here are therefore ranked 
in order of their degree of departure from Corbusian 
prototypes, rather than in chronological sequence, 
though they are so nearly contemporary that the se¬ 
quence is not important. 

Siedlung Halen by Atelier 5, standing on a wooded 
rise outside Berne, was effectively completed in 
1960—61. Its direct dependence on the work of Le 
Corbusier has never been in doubt: “... the plan is 
just one step away from the Permanent City of the 

34 'Architectural Record', March 1961 

Sainte-Baume project”, (Neave Brown) and t * | a y 
step was toward the same primitive archetype** 
behind Paul Rudolph’s housing, for Neave 
also described Halen as “... orderly and comp® 
an Italian hill town, complete with piazza an 
panile-chimney to suggest social identity”. Bu 
more historically precise, the step away f f ° ^ e 
Sainte-Baume brings Atelier 5 rather closer 
‘Roq et Rob’ project of 1949. What was evi 
ly the most beguiling aspect of ‘Roq e 
duly reappears at Halen, as in so many 
er schemes — the stepped path splitti n 9 
whole terraced composition from top to bottom^^ 
passing through a central public space; so too 
the idea of composing those terraces out o 
deep-plan, narrow-section apartments with tn tQ 
commodation on more than one level, accor 
the fall of the land. ^ aC j 

Le Corbusier’s original vision of such a habits 
been deeply imbued with post-war concerns, ^ 

social reform, the simple life, spiritual regener g .^_ 
and so forth, and was seen by him as a coarse ^ s 0 f 
pie architecture of vaulted roofs carried on en t 
rammed earth. Halen, built for comfortably at ^ 
bourgeois suburbanites (who leave their cars u ^ jan 
the end of the terraces, and maintain a ‘P ede jf aS a 
image’ while within the habitat) inevitably n gem _ 
more sophisticated aesthetic, derived and as 
bled by Atelier 5 with their usual cunning fr ° of 
numerable different Corbusian sources, sonr1 ®, at 
them - such as the brise-soleils from the 'Urn of 
Marseilles - seemingly quite out of key, and ° 
scale with the village image of the plan and s ® tjon ‘ 
However, subsequent overgrowth by vegeta_ ree J 
especially grass on the roofs, has largely r eS ° g at 
the primitivistic, Sainte-Baume image. What w ® gs 
first a rather self-assertively clever architects ^ 
been reduced by the obliterative power of na 
to the status of a simple habitat, an indifferen ^ 
side village, the mid-twentieth century equivalen 
the garden suburb that was the image of P rogr 
sive habitat in 1900. 

Kunio Mayekawa’s Harumi apartment block in > 
is unlikely ever to disappear behind encroaching 
vegetation. It is too big, and its unlovely site se ®.7 1 * 
to have been permanently stripped of natural hte- 
its raw concrete will always stare bluntly out at the 
world. Its date, 1958, still seemsto startle Europeans, 
who tend to regard Kenzo Tange’s Kurashiki town 
hall, which is four years younger, as the fi rst rea 
exercise in ‘gros beton arm6’ in Japan. It is worth 
remembering therefore, that Maekawa was at one 
time Tange’s master, and represents a direct link 
between Japan and Le Corbusier that may eventu¬ 
ally prove more significant than the better-known 
connection through Junzo Sakakura. In terms of 
strict chronology, the design and construction of 
Harumi occupied a period in the history of Japanese 
architecture that was rich in generically Brutalist ex¬ 
periments - Kikutake’s graceless Tonogaya ppart- 
ment-development, for instance, or that curious va¬ 
riation upon the ‘Roq et Rob’ format, the Fuji Juko 
Omiya development by Ikuta, Oki and Miyajim 3 - 


in ini» -a ■ Diock looks less start¬ 

ling, but it is no less of an innovation, technically 
aesthetically and as a proposition for a habitat On 
this last point, Harumi may not appear much of 
departure rom the norm of a large, isolated slab 
block, but there are two observations which should 
be made in this connection. Firstly, that the access 
galleries at every third floor of the block effectively 
function as a series of linked courtyards between 
one structural pier and the next, since each receives 
the entrances of a number of flats, those not at deck 
level being reached by stairs. The decision to em¬ 
ploy an external street deck was apparently taken 
as a direct choice against Le Corbusier’s ‘rue int6- 
rieure’ concept, but even more significant is the at¬ 
titude toward their function in the total habitat as 
expressed by Noboru Kawazoe 37 : 

“It seems to me however, that drying diapers are a 
sign of life and energy, and if the building becomes 
nondescript when adorned with them, then the build¬ 
ing is at fault. An apartment house should be able 
to withstand these manifestations of human life. If 
it cannot, it is a weak building ...” 

and a few paragraphs later, speaking specifically of 
Harumi’s ‘streets suspended in the air’ he goes on 
to observe: 

“Here children can play games, or ride tricycles as 
they might do on the side-walk in other areas. Here 
too the petty hoodlums of the surrounding districts 
can prowl at night, to the disconsolence of the in¬ 
habitants ... a building does not really belong to 
the people unless it is capable of absorbing the 
shadier sides of life along with the more pleasant. 
To be a true building it must melt into the history 
of its time.” 

This must be about the most permissive statement 
about the use of habitat ever made by a member 
of the Brutalist connection. It is doubtful if any 
European, let alone any architect brought up in the 
‘preventive’ morality of British social reform, could 
tolerate even petty crime as part of the ‘realities of 
the situation’. 

But — and this is the second point — the permissive 
attitude toward the public spaces is matched by a 
related attitude to what goes on internally. Within 
the bare bookshelf of the concrete frame, Mayekawa 
inserts what are virtually Japanese houses of the tra¬ 
ditional type, to quote Kawazoe again: 

“The larger apartments of the Harumi building re¬ 
semble traditional city houses in plan, while the 
smaller ones have the farm-house plan ... people 
used the (traditional standardised) houses accord¬ 
ing to their individual needs and were not troubled 
by the sameness. The fact is that people are the 
masters of architecture, and architecture must pro¬ 
vide them the necessary freedom.” 

37 ‘Japan Architect’, March 1959 

The closing observation is, in fact, Kawazoe quoting 
Tange, though the sentiment recalls what the 
Smithsons had said about leaving man room to 
adapt his own habitat (see section 4.3). Yet no 
Smithson scheme, no ‘Unite’ by Le Corbusier, nei¬ 
ther Halen nor Park Hill, Sheffield, is so permissive 
as to offer its inhabitants their accustomed domestic 
environment all over again. For Harumi does not 
merely reproduce the traditional spaces and di¬ 
mensions; as far as possible it works with traditio¬ 
nal ‘tatami’ mats in the living areas, the customary 
planked flooring in kitchen, bathroom etc, sliding 
screens, sliding cupboard-doors, even a sort of 
‘tokonoma’-alcove in the living room. It is, so to 
speak, the Smithsons’ concept of the “necessity for 
the traditional backyard”, brought indoors. 

And what is so striking about Harumi, is that this 
mQdel exposition of an original Brutalist ethic is 
realized in an original version of the Brutalist aes¬ 
thetic that any European Brutalist would have been 
happy to have conceived. 

“Mayekawa and associates have made a concrete 
building which expresses the material even more 
positively than Le Corbusier, yet have (sic) a preci¬ 
sion and finesse reminiscent of Perret.” 38 

This last observation seems arguable, suffice it to 
say that the concrete is massive, ‘brut’ and handled 
in heroic style. The services that make the building 
work are carried with an equally Brutalist swagger, 
not only in the sense that a large tank and asso¬ 
ciated pipe-works are exhibited on the roof with¬ 
out being clothed in some fanciful structure of the 
sort that a Corbusian aesthetic commonly enjoins, 
but also that a massive duct-floor-cum-structural- 
beam runs visibly through the block from end to 
end at every alternate third floor to that occupied 
by a street deck. That such a structure, embracing 
such a conception of habitat should be created at 
that time, on the opposite side of the world to that 
in which two young architects from the English prov¬ 
inces had first enunciated the Brutalist creed, 
showed how far that creed expressed an architec¬ 
tural mood of the time, and it was to the work of 
two other young architects in the English provinces 
that one has to turn to find a conception that is in 
any way comparable with Harumi. 

Park Hill, Sheffield, was effectively designed by 
Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, under the direction of 
J. L. Womersley, the city architect, and it sums up al¬ 
most as many of the sociological intentions of the 
younger architects as the Cambridge Architecture 
School extension does of their intellectual interests. 
It is a huge single complex building occupying and 
partly enclosing a recognisable district of the city *— 
a genuinely satisfying achievement in a generation 
that had big ambitions and had been forced by cir¬ 
cumstances to realise them in penny packets. But 
this vast enterprise is unified and kept humanly com¬ 
prehensible by a habitat-device that was dear to the 


3 * 'Architectural Design', May 1959 

ideal of built-in community-sense of that genera¬ 
tion — a street-deck system even more sophisticated 
and mature than Mayekawa’s. Four, twelve-foot-wide 
pedestrian promenades thread through whole com¬ 
plex joining its various extremities; on the upper¬ 
most it is possible to walk for ten minutes without 
retracing one’s steps. 

In order to give the greatest number of apartments 
the best orientation for light and view, the block 
divides threfe times, each of its limbs looping back 
on itself. The street-decks, keeping always to the 
shaded side of the block therefore have frequently 
to penetrate to the other side of the limbs where 
they bend, thus creating the equivalent of street- 
corners. At the end of each limb, the deck opens out 
into a small piazza served by lifts and stairs for ver¬ 
tical circulation. At the three points where the block 
divides, however, a bridge leaps across from the 
piazza and connects with the two branches of the 
street-deck beyond the gap, creating another small 
public space in front of the service-lift on that side 
also. It is at these points where three different ca¬ 
tegories of vertical circulation meet the horizontal 
circulation provided by the street-decks, here na¬ 
kedly revealed as pedestrian bridges, that the es¬ 
sence of Park Hill is seen. 

This essential pattern of circulation stems, as at 
Harumi, from a conviction that the ‘rue interieure’ of 
Le Corbusier’s ‘Unites’ would not serve. The street 
deck emerged as a logical corrective, and at the 
same time posed the problem of how people should 
circulate through their habitat, how far circulation- 
spaces were part of the vital environment of the 
habitat. At Siedlung Halen the stepped path passes 
through the central square; at Harumi the circulation 
is a series of minute public places, but at Sheffield 
the circulation space generates a variety of public 
areas, on the precept of the Smithsons’ Golden 
Lane competition entry as well as Lynn and Smith’s 

The Smithsons’ Golden Lane project used a simi¬ 
lar street-access to ours, and made the first moves 
towards their continuity by creating street-corner 
junctions where refuse chutes would be located, 
which they likened to the modern equivalent of the 
village pump.” 39 

Like the suspended streets of Harumi, Park Hill’s 
street decks occur at every third floor, and onto the 
decks open the front doors of all the apartments. 
Along the deck itself pass small trucks for deliveries, 
mail and furniture-removals, but no faster wheeled 
traffic to menace the playing children or gossiping 
adults — or, indeed the turbulent teenagers who oc- 
cassionally disturb the peace, for Park Hill, like 
Harumi, has melted into the history of its times and 
absorbed something of the shadier side. But the 
apartments that are served by the street decks are 
less permissive, do not reconstruct the previous 

39 Quoted in the 'Journal of the Royal Institute of British Archi¬ 
tects’, December 1962 

domestic scene, and call upon the new inhabitants 
to adopt a new environment. 

There were, in fact, fairly cogent sociological and 
even criminological reasons for breaking up the 
existing living-patterns of the area, which had be¬ 
come a notoriously blighted slum. This, indeed, was 
the reason for rebuilding it, and this air of social 
urgency was one of the reasons why Jack Lynn and 
Ivor Smith volunteered to design for this difficult 
site rather than an easier one elsewhere in the city. 
Thus, if Park Hill can in any way be regarded as an 
ideal solution for this particular place at that parti¬ 
cular time, the ideal is that of the English concep¬ 
tion of social justice, as expressed through the 
English system of local government. 

But it differs from Halen or Harumi in more ways 
than this; the aesthetic is as different as the ethic. 
Very little indeed of the external detailing makes 
even token acknowledgement to Le Corbusier, to 
any other known master, or even to what is normally 
regarded as architectural detailing. The frame is 
baldly expressed, emphasising only the cellular na¬ 
ture of the contents.yrhe infilling of the frame is in 
simple brickwork, windows, or balustrading. Before 
the building was completed the handling of the fa¬ 
cades was described on more than one occasion as 
‘fashionable’ or ‘cliche-ridden’. For a certain period 
of the design process the architects were advised 
by John Forrester, an abstract sculptor, but neither 
this, nor the influence of fashion seem to have had 
much effect — it simply looks as if the architects had 
more important things on their minds than facade- 
patterns. Jack Lynn, indeed, has publicly stated that 
the arrangement of the interiors was allowed to de¬ 
termine the exterior pattern of solid and void, and 
that he is happy with the result. Not, one presumes, 
like an old time functionalist morally secure in the 
knowledge that form has followed function, but more 
in the mood of one who sees it helping to build 
the image of a building more concerned with ‘life’ 
than with ‘architecture’. 

For, regard it how you will, Park Hill comes pretty 
close to ‘an other architecture’. Its informal plan- 
pattern on the ground is more concerned with a 
proper topological organisation of the site than with 
Picturesque effect. Indeed its level roof line has an 
anti-Picturesque quality as one sees the block from 
the city, though some extremely picturesque sil¬ 
houettes should be presented by the second phase, 
Hyde Park, higher up the hill behind it. Hyde Park is 
also less rigorously organised in terms of topologi¬ 
cal connections than Park Hill, and the accommoda¬ 
tion is grouped in a more conventional manner in 
high and low blocks. In other words it is housing, 
not a habitat, and marks a withdrawal from the ex¬ 
treme position established by Park Hill. 

The moral crusade of Brutalism for a better habitat 
through built environment probably reaches its cul¬ 
mination at Park Hill. Nothing proposed since has 
been extreme in quite the same way, but many of 
its ideas are diffusing into common usage, just as 
the aesthetics of ‘beton brut’ have diffused into a 
vernacular, a common usage. Brutalism, having run 

for ten years or more — which is a fair age for an 
‘-ism’ in the present century — had achieved the 
consummation that awaits all movements which ac¬ 
curately pinpoint real needs and aspirations of their 
period and social context. They do not achieve the 
dominance for which their founders hope, but instead 
they “melt into the history of their time”, so that one 
can hardly imagine what the world could have been 
like before Brutalism (in this case) came upon the 
scene. The face of the world does not conform to 
the Brutalist aesthetic, but the conscience of the 
world’s architecture has been permanently enriched 
; by the Brutalist ethic. 


Sheffield City Architect’s Department 
(J. Lewis Womersley, City Architect); 
Sheffield (England), Hyde Park Housing. 

View of the model 



9.1 Memoirs of a survivor 

For illustrations see page 189—192 

The reader will have deduced, if he did not already 
know, that this book is the work of someone fairly 
deeply involved with the events it describes. I have, 
in fact, been personally acquainted with most of the 
British Brutalists and quasi-Brutalists mentioned in 
the preceding pages, since 1952 or earlier; my per¬ 
sonal acquaintance with the non-British architects 
mentioned is more various, and in one or two cases, 
such as Kunio Mayekawa, completely non-existent — 
to my profound regret. The book, therefore, has a 
built-in bias toward the British contribution to Bru- 
talism: it is not a dispassionate and Olympian sur¬ 
vey, conducted from the cool heights of an academic 
ivory tower. I was there, involved, and the article I 
wrote for the ‘Architectural Review’ in December 
1955 under the title, simply, of The New Brutalism’ 
seems to have been regarded as a more relevant 
manifesto for the movement than the Smithsons’ 1 

statement of January in the same year. 

The reason why I have not reprinted my article as 
part of this book is that I do not believe it to be 
truly representative of the state of the Brutalist 
movement at that important time in its evolution. In 
retrospect it reveals only too clearly my attempt to 
father some of my own pet notions on the move¬ 
ment. Any reader who is interested enough to turn 
it up should read it ‘cum grano salis’ as a description 
of the New Brutalism. On the other hand, it retains 
some validity as a demonstration of the kind of 
intellectual climate in which discussions of the New 
Brutalism, and of architecture in general, were con¬ 
ducted in London, by a certain circle, at that time. 

It was an extraordinarily exciting period in the evo¬ 
lution of ideas in Britain, both in the portable arts 
and in architecture — one of those unrepeatable epi¬ 
sodes whose importance is discernible even at the 
time, although their full consequence cannot be 
appreciated until much later. One of the ways in 
which we were able to discern that something im¬ 
portant was afoot was in the notice that was taken 



of our activities abroad — Philip Johnson’s interest 
in Hunstanton school (see section 3) was far from 
unique, and the predominantly British make-up of 
Team-X was something of a recognition that British 
architects had a special contribution to make. 

In fact, to write a predominantly British account of 
New Brutalism is not necessarily to be parochial or 
chauvinistic. The origins of Brutalism ‘as a move¬ 
ment’ were British, and the fact was recognised, as 
in Renato Pedio’s reference to England as its ‘na¬ 
tive land’ (see section 8.1). The British, too, left a 
permanent imprint on the movement and on the 
concept of Brutalism. It was, in short, the first 
consequential British contribution to the living body 
of architecture since the collapse of the 'English 
Free Building’ of Voysey and Lethaby around 1910. 
It was not, of course, a wholly British movement — 
the world of architecture is now so closely-knit by 
rapid communications that only chauvinism or ge¬ 
nuine irrelevance to world problems can keep a 
movement (eg Neo-Liberty in Italy) successfully 



shut up within the confines of one nation’s archi¬ 
tecture. But even if the high style of Brutalism is 
Le Corbusier’s, the ethic behind the aesthetic was 
British, and the creation of a vernacular Brutalism 
was as much a British achievement as anybody 
else’s — one may very properly ask oneself what 
the achievement of Atelier 5 would have meant in a 
world that did rtot include the Smithsons’ philoso- 
phisings and Stirling and Gowan’s Ham Common 

But, as I write this ‘envoi’, it is very clear that the 
biggest and most important fact about the British 
contribution to Brutalism is that it is over. Whether 
or not the movement is still a going concern is 
difficult to say — the future may have more surprises 
like Marchiondi in store for us. But the recent works 
of Stirling and Gowan, or the Smithsons, show far 
less urgency of ethic or aesthetic than in the late 
fifties. The Smithsons’ Economist building or (more 
accurately) cluster, since it consists of three build¬ 
ings on a single podium, is a work of studied re¬ 
straint. It may offer a vision of a new community 
structure, but it does so upon the basis of an 
ancient Greek acropolis plan, and in maintaining the 
scale and governing lines of tradition-bound St 
James’s Street, on which it stands, it handles the 
‘street idea’ very tenderly indeed. Far from being an 
example of an ‘other’ architecture, this is a crafts- 
manly exercise within the great tradition. In many 
ways, Stirling and Gowan’s laboratory-block for Lei¬ 
cester University comes nearer to Brutalism in the 
emotional sense of a rough, tough building, and in 
the dramatic space-play of its sectional organisation 
it carries still something of the aggressive informali¬ 
ty of the mood of the middle fifties. But stylistic 
dependence on any building by Le Corbusier is 
something it does not show at all. These are build¬ 
ings that belong to a different book. Their relaxed 
assurance stamps them as works of maturity, the 
maturity of original talents that may never need to 
worry about the problem of style again, confident 
now that this is something that will resolve itself in 
the process of satisfying the needs for which the 
building was created. It has been a privilege and an 
education to be able to watch this process of ma¬ 
turation from close range, just as it has been a 
salutary lesson to me as a critic historian to watch 
a movement being created — to gain a glimpse 
thereby, of the manner in which movements as por¬ 
tentous as Gothic architecture could start from the 
interaction of a few lively minds around Bishop 
Suger, or the art of the Renaissance from a group 
of friends few enough to be listed in the dedication 
to Alberti’s ‘Della Pittura’. 

But the process of watching a movement in gestation 
and growth was also a disappointment in the end. 
For all its brave talk of ‘an ethic, not an aesthetic’ 
Brutalism never quite broke out of the aesthetic 
frame of reference. For a short period, around 
1953—55, it looked as if an ‘other architecture’ might 
indeed emerge, entirely free of the professional pre¬ 
conceptions and prejudices that have encrusted ar¬ 
chitecture since it became ‘an art’. It looked for a 

moment as if we might be on the threshold of an 
utterly uninhibited functionalism, free, even, of the 
machine aesthetic that had trapped the white archi¬ 
tecture of the thirties and made it impossible for 
Gropius to reach through to the native American 
machine ethic that might have broken the back of 
the Beaux-Arts tradition that still cripples architec¬ 
tural thinking in America. 

The Johnsons, Johansens and Rudolphs of the Ame¬ 
rican scene were quicker than I was to see that the 
Brutalists were really their allies, not mine; com¬ 
mitted in the last resort to the classical tradition, 
not the technological. For the ethic of the Brutalist 
connection, like every reformist trend in architecture, 
back through Adolf Loos, and William Morris, and 
Carlo Lodoli and Colin Campbell, is backward-look¬ 
ing. Brutalism may make tremendous bold attempts 
to bring the automobile phenomenon under control, 
but in the last resort it is in order to recreate a pe¬ 
destrian city, as in the central piazza of Siedlung 
Halen, the street-decks of Park Hill. The Appliance 
House may make a brave effort to redomesticate 
the new household gods in their gleaming white and 
chromium case-work, but it does so by cramming 
them into the traditional alcoves of the tokonama, or 
Roman domestic altar; the house itself is still the 
same kind of shelter as a primitive wattle hut, makes 
no attempt to put these new household powers to 
work to create human environment in any radically 
new way. 

The ethic of Brutalism was a campaign of ‘mens 
sana in corpore sano’, but no-one should have doubt¬ 
ed that the mind and the body would prove, ulti¬ 
mately, to be the mind and body which had always 
belonged to architecture. For a non-architect like 
myself to expect them to be otherwise was naive. 

I know now that architects who genuinely see how 
narrow and restricting are the traditions of their 
profession, normally get out of it, and become in¬ 
dustrial designers, real-eastate agents, systems- 
engineers or any other discipline that enables them 
to tangle with the ‘realities of the situation’, in a less 
inhibited manner. But, for all that, I am not ungrate¬ 
ful to the Brutalists within their role as architects. If 
we are to continue to have a world in which ‘archi¬ 
tect’ is a meaningful and productive category of 
human being, then I would rather have the kind of 
architect who has begun to emerge since Brutalism 
has become a force in the land, especially the kind 
of younger architect who has been trained under 
men like Smithson, Gowan, Stirling, and knows what 
the traditions of his professions are, and the manner 
in which he can take a moral stand upon them in the 
twentieth century. From the time of Berlage, and 
even before that, the idea of a morality of design 
has been one of the main motives for serious in¬ 
novation in Modern Architecture, and the Brutalist 
proposition that it is even ‘possible’ to make a moral 
stand about matters of design is an improvement on 
the attitude of many architects in the previous two 
or three generations. I make no pretence that I was 
not seduced by the aesthetic of Brutalism, but the 
lingering tradition of its ethical stand, the persistence 

of an idea that the r elationship s__of__tJie..partS-^and 
materials of a building are-a working morality — 
this, for me, is the continuing validity of the New 


Part of the main facade 
198 / 199 

Plan, elevations, and section (scale 1:600) 


““T 1 

11 ^ ^ 

m 71"^ F3_ TT I 1 1 I ! 

Nn n rmpL —fern 1 

-1^___-- —— 

1 ■" 1 





Luigi Figini and G;no Pollini; Milan (Italy), 
Church of the Madonna dei Poveri. 1956 


Detail of masonry-screen to upper part ol 

View of crypt 




203 - 205 

Johannes H van den Broek and 
Jacob B Bakema; Nagele (Holland), 
Reformed Church. 1960 

203 / 204 

Exterior from the north, bell-tower 




< r, 9 ht) 

1 lor with pulpit and altm 
|pt er 




Sigurd Lewerentz; Stockholm (Sweden), M arl 

Exterior views 

^° 8 (right) 

1 he nave | n i 

0 ln 9 towards the altar 



Garden elev 
Plans of gro 
(scale 1 : 500 

1 office en 

2 residenc 

3 receptioi 

4 conferen 

5 garden c 

6 office-sp 

7 garden c 
8/9 offices 
10/11 garder 

12 garden ei 

13 private a| 

14 private g. 

15 living roc 

16 dining ro 

17 kitchen 

18 private a| 



t 1 

W* a '*' w^.^ 


3h 99S 3 ^si 


X t 


^ f 

P Lii ' 


K ?••: ~W ■ IK' 


J® _jmT" "' m 

Mcjm iMv — 

mHrwm * 1 

*tfe _—irrJi 


Hijyfl^ . i if 1 


220 (right) 

Steps up from garden 


Sir Leslie Martin and Colin St John Wilson 
(with Patrick Hodgkinson); Cambridge 
(England), Harvey Court Hostel. 1262 


Site plan 


View of inner court, canopy over entrance- 


- * 


-•V I 




27 . 



External structural frames 

235 (right) 

Indoor play-space 


A|do van Eyck; Amsterdam (Holland), 
Orphanage School. 1958-60 


^j r -view 


_ _ ' 




End of a pavilion 




- 1 1 

-o^bl J 





i : _ — —, 

’o l3 


: V T 


—3 L^__113 t=H 




* o* n H 

> i o r r 

r 1 ii jQ 

k J 


k 1 


«* p 

Mi : ! 





*" 1 " 

5 . ^ 



nssr=T mi .* f ‘ 

v^.»« -Vr 


>• nf.?x7ii_fiSr — 

■ !• 

gj^ .-Vp^ 


245 - 268 

Atelier 5 (Erwin Fritz, Samuel Gerber, Rolf Hesterberg, 

Hans Hostettler, Niklaus Morgenthaler, Alfredo Pini); 

Berne (Switzerland), Siedlung Halen. 1961 

245 (left) 

Roof-terraces of narrow-section apartments to east of central 


Elevations of narrow-section apartments 

_ _ 



|M, F 

15 . 



Tc * 



1 fltlf 

1 r 


[ J 

t b 

> a 


!■ , | 




Hn;i itj 


| 10 



ri — 


.v* '■• •!*•••-!". 

48 - 254 

lections and plans of narrow 
tpes (scale 1:200) 

1 pergola 

2 entrance 

3 storage 
| patio 

j cloakroom 
; kitchen 
7 bathroom 
\ toilet 
j living room 
) loggia 

! corridor with cupboards 
l bedroom 

I covered sitting area 

I garden 

i collar 
; utility room 








j ;|-] 

□ i 

JJ _ r — 1 



1 / 

k! 1 

p£5l 1 

f "1 

12 [J 


=Hl ! 


2, _ 12 o 


‘ i:- 'j1| a 




. ,2 c 


, ^ 


”| 1 









n 12 7i 

12 ^ 


L ... if 




1 T 






955 — 262 

Sections and plans of wide apartments 

(scale 1:200) j 

1 pergola 

2 entrance 

3 storage 

4 patio 

5 cloakroom 

6 toilot 

7 storage-space 

8 kitchen 

9 living-dining room 

10 loggia 

11 storage-space 

12 bathroom 

13 bedroom 

14 balcony 

15 cellar 

16 covered sitting area 

17 garden 

18 utility room 

19 solarium, roof-garden 

20 duct-space 






■ ■ 


View from the south, central piazza 

Site plan and section (scale 1:2500) 

1 access road 

2 parking 

3 underground garage 

4 filling station 

5 village square 

6 shops and restaurant 

7 underground power and utilities station 

8 swimming pool and games area 

9 steps 

10-13 terraced housing 
14 studio-apartments. 


1 * >* 




1 vf * 

■ •' 

1 BMP j 


The pocJoatrinn ntroot 



The terraces from the east 


269 - 273 

Kiyonori Kikutake; Totsuka (Yokohama, 
Japan), Tonogaya Apartments. 1956 

269 / 270 

Rear elevation by day and night 

Plan of typical floor 


Interior of an apartment 


Ikuta, Oki and Miyajima; Omiya (Saitama, 
Japan), Fuji Juko Omiya Development. 


View north from main block 

- . 

fnnrr tirnifi-rr ■■■liiiiiim 

jw nrn.m_Ji 


Courtyard elevation of main block 

• - 


k &Asfc&.-~ a >9Sw. 

' “ 'Hi 

* I f ■ 

inn rNro#« 





5 lift;:?, to; 

View from harbour 

276 - 284 

Kunio Mayekawa; Harumi (Tokyo, Japan), Apartment Block. 1958 

276 (page 177) 

Part of garden elevation 


Street elevation 

Plans at standard floor level and street-deck level (scale 1 -500) 

Close up of concrete work 


mmm \ 


j| ,Ki i «-fl f 

lir j 

|| Jfl 1 




iiii H- 

1 1 Bj 


Sheffield City Architect’s Department 
(J Lewis Womersley, City Architect; 

Jack Lynn, Ivor Smith and Frederick Nicklin 
designers); Sheffield (England), 

Park Hill Development. 1961 

Lift-tower, stair-tov/er. and pedestrian 

Park Hill from tho city-centre 









owing street decks in solid 


Standard three-storey section (scale 1 200) 

290 292 

Plans at upper floor level street deck level and lower floor level 

< scale 1:200) 




l j 



' / 




Street-deck passing through block 

s in upper courtyard 

-- 1 


i r 

L 1 

t •• 





r l 




James Stirling and James Gowan; 
Leicester (England), University 
Engineering-laboratories. 1963 

Workshop block 


Alison and Peter Smithson; London (England), Economist Cluster. 

298 (page 189) 

View from St James’s Street 

Model of complete desi 

Stairway and periodicals reading-room 

Detail of columns in 

303 (page 192) 

Lecture halls, laboratory-tower and 
office-tower from the east 

4 -bp 


. v_ 



_i L-ft-'.*. 


Index of Names in the Text 

Aalto, Alvar 
Alberti, Leon Battista 
Alloway, Lawrence 
Amis, Kingsley 
Amis, Stanley 
Asplund, Gunnar 
Asplund, Hans 
Atelier 5 

Bakema, Jacob B 
Banfi, Gianluigi 
Banham, Reyner 

Behrens, Peter 
Belgiojoso, Lodovico B 
Berlage, Hendrik Petrus 
Bodiansky, Vladimir 
Bresciani, Valdes, Castillo 
and Huidobro 
Brown, Neave 
Burlington, Lord 
Buys, J W E 

Campbell, Colin 
Candilis, Georges 
Casson, Sir Hugh 
Cezanne, Paul 

Chamberlin, Powell and Bon 
Chareau, Pierre 
Clark, H F 
Clarke-Hall, Denis 
Coates, Wells 
Colquhoun, Alan 
Conolly, Cyril 
Coulon, Jacques 
Cowburn, William 
Cox, Oliver 
Cronin Hastings, H de 
Crosby, Theo 
Cullen, Gordon 

Dubuffet, Jean 

Edman, Bengt 
Ellis, Tom 

Fautrier, Jean 
Fehn, Sverre 
Figini, Luigi 
FSrderer, Walter 
Forrester, John 
Freyssinet, Eug&ne 
Fritz, Erwin 
Fuller, R Buckminster 

Gardella, Ignazio 
Gamier, Tony 
Gerber, Samuel 
Gibberd, Frederick 
Giedion, Sigfried 
Gollins, Melvin, Ward 
Gowan, James 
Greene, Herb 
Gropius, Walter 
Grung, Geir 
Gutmann, R 

Hamilton, Richard 
Hardy, Alex 
Haring, Hugo 
Harrison, Norman 
Henderson, Nigel 
Hesterberg, Rolf 
Hodgkinson, Patrick 
Holm, Lennart 
Hostettler, Hans 


14, 47, 75 

47, 64, 75 

10, 11, 19, 125 

90, 91, 130, 134 

45, 70, 71,75, 125 
128, 129 


128, 129 

128, 129 




90, 130 


19, 135 
70, 71,75 

13, 14 



12, 75 



14, 89 



10, 11 


45, 46, 71 

61, 66, 68 














10, 63, 71 

87, 88, 89, 90, 125, 134, 135 
68, 69 

11,46, 47, 63, 71,72, 74,135 


64, 66 


14, 125 

41, 43 , 61, 64, 65, 66, 71 

Howell, William G 
Huws, David 

Ikuta, Oki and Miyajima 
Israel, Lawrence 

Johansen, John M 
Johnson, Philip 

Kahn, Louis I 
Kallman, Gerhard 
Kawazoe, Noboru 
Kidder Smith, G E 
Kiesler, Frederick 
Kikutake, Kiyonori 
Korsmo, Arne 
Kruschev, Nikita 
Kultermann, Udo 

Lasdun, Denys 
Lasserre, Fred 
Le Corbusier 

Lethaby, William Richard 
Lewerentz, Sigurd 
Littlewood, Joan 
Llewelyn-Davies, Richard 
Lodoli, Carlo 
Loos, Adolf 
Lorraine, Claude 
Lubetkin, Berthold 
Luder, Owen 
Lurpat, Andr6 
Lynch, Kevin 
Lynn, Jack 

Lyons, Israel and Ellis 

Malevitsch, Kasimir 
Mansart, Jules Hardouin 
Mar6, Eric de 
Martin, Sir Leslie 
Mathieu, Georges 
Mayekawa, Kunio 
McCallum, Ian 
McHale, John 
Mendelsohn, Erich 

Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig 

Neutra, Richard 
Newman, Oscar 
Nizzoli, Marcello 

Olitsky, Ruth 
Otto, Rolf 

Palladio, Andrea 
Paolozzi, Edouardo 

Pedio, Renato 
Peressutti, Enrico 
Perret, Auguste 
Pevsner, Nikolaus 

Picasso, Pablo 
Pini, Alfredo 
Piper, John 
Pollini, Gino 

70, 75, 87 



14, 20, 65, 67,134, 135 

43, 44, 89, 125 

68, 69 

11,12, 89 

72, 85, 89 
67, 69 

14,15,16,17,18, 19, 41,42, 
43, 44, 45, 47, 62, 63, 69, 70, 
71, 72, 73, 75, 85, 86, 88, 89, 
90, 91,125,130,131,132, 


18, 19, 47 
135 » 







42, 88, 132 


46, 71,130,131,134 

64, 66 

10, 14,15, 17,18,19, 45, 
69, 126 



18, 45 


11, 135 






15, 19, 41,45, 87 
41, 43, 45, 61, 64, 66, 


127, 134 

128, 129 

12, 13, 14,19, 90, 128 


Mikoyan, Anastasij Ivanovitch 
Miller, John 
Mondriaan, Piet 
Morgenthaler, Niklaus 
Moro, Peter 
Morris, William 



As far as was traceable the photographs were made by the 
following photographers: 

No. of 

2 LCC, Architect’s Dept., Photographic Unit 

3 LCC, Architect’s Dept., Photographic Unit 

4 Wainwright 

5 Architectural Review — Millar &. Harris, London 

6 Architect’s Journal - Millar & Harris, London 

7 Architect’s Journal - Millar & Harris, London 

8 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

12 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

13 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

15 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

16 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

17 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

18 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

19 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

20 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

21 Hedrich-Blessing, Chicago 

23 Hedrich-Blessing, Chicago 

24 Hedrich-Blessing, Chicago 

25 Hedrich-Blessing, Chicago 

26 Hedrich-Blessing, Chicago 

28 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

29 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

30 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

31 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

32 E. E. Swain, Hunstanton 

38 Architectural Review - E. E. Swain, Hunstanton 

39 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

40 Architectural Review — de Burgh Galwey 

41 John Maltby, London 

42 P. D. S. 

43 Nigel Henderson 

44 Nigel Henderson 

45 Nigel Henderson 

46 Verlag Ernst Wasmuth, Tubingen 
50 Nigel Henderson 

58 John Maltby, London 

59 Architect’s Journal - Sydney W. Newbery, London 

60 Cervin Robinson 

61 Charles R. Schulze 

63 Lionel Freedman, New York 

64 J. A. Vrijhof, Rotterdam 

71 Nigel Henderson 

73 Hans Namuth 

74 The Council of Industrial Design, London 

79 The Council of Industrial Design, London 

80 Son et Lumifcre 

82 Architectural Design - Sam Lambert, London 

83 Architectural Design - Sam Lambert, London 

84 Architects’ Journal - Sam Lambert, London 

86 dp^- Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH, Frankfurt/Main 

87 Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

88 Julius Shulman, Los Angeles 

89 Buckminster Fuller, Forest Hills, N. Y. 

90 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

91 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

100 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 
104 Denys Lasdun 

120 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

132 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

133 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

134 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

135 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

136 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

137 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

138 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

139 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

141 Peter Pitt 

142 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

143 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

144 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

145 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

146 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

147 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

148 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

149 de Burgh Galwey 

153 Architectural Review - John R. Pantlin, Radlett 

158 Architectural Review - John R. Pantlin, Radlett 

159 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

162 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

163 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

164 Deegan Photo Ltd. 

166 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

167 Architects' Journal - Wm. J. Toomey 

168 Architects’ Journal - Wm. J. Toomey 

169 Architects’ Journal - Wm. J. Toomey 

170 Architects’ Journal - Wm. J. Toomey 

171 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

172 Behr Photography, London 

174 Architectural Review — de Burgh Galwey 

175 LCC, Architect's Dept., Photographic Unit 

176 LCC, Sydney W. Newbery, London 

177 Architects’ Journal - John R. Pantlin, Radlett 

178 Architectural Review — de Burgh Galwey 

179 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

180 Pedro Freitag, Osomo 

181 Pedro Freitag, Osorno 

182 Pedro Freitag, Osorno 

185 Albert Winkler, Bern 

186 Albert Winkler, Bern 

187 Albert Winkler, Bern 

188 Albert Winkler, Bern 

189 Albert Winkler, Bern 

190 Lucien Herv6, Paris 

191 F. Maurer, ZUrich 

192 F. Maurer, ZUrich 

195 The Architectural Press 

196 Sheffield Telegraph Ltd. 

200 Fototecnica Fortunati, Milano 

201 Fototecnica Fortunati, Milano 

202 Fototecnica Fortunati, Milano 

204 Publicam, Hilversum 

205 Publicam, Hilversum 

206 Pal-Nils Nilsson/Tiofoto, Stockholm 

207 Pal-Nils Nilsson/Tiofoto, Stockholm 

208 Pal-Nils Nilsson/Tiofoto, Stockholm 

209 Walter Ehmann, Kdln 

216 Sam Lambert, London 

218 John Donat 

219 John Donat 

220 John Donat 

221 Colin Westwood, Weybridge 

223 Colin Westwood, Weybridge 

224 Colin Westwood, Weybridge 

230 Attualfoto, Milano 

231 Attualfoto, Milano 

235 J. J. van der Meyden, Amsterdam 

236 J. J. van der Meyden, Amsterdam 

237 P. H. Goedi, Amsterdam 

239 Violette Cornelius 

241 J. J. van der Meyden, Amsterdam 

242 John D. Fowler 

243 Bob O’Shaughnessy, Boston 

244 John D. Fowler 

245 Albert Winkler, Bern 

246 Albert Winkler, Bern 

247 Albert Winkler, Bern 

263 Albert Winkler, Bern 

264 Albert Winkler, Bern 

266 Albert Winkler, Bern 

267 Leonardo Bezzola, Flamatt 

268 Leonardo Bezzola, Flamatt 

274 Ch. Hirayama, Tokyo 

275 Ch. Hirayama, Tokyo 

276 Y. Futagawa, Tokyo 

277 Ch. Hirayama, Tokyo 

280 Y. Futagawa, Tokyo 

281 Y. Futagawa, Tokyo 

282 Y. Futagawa, Tokyo 

283 Y. Futagawa, Tokyo 


286 Bellwood Photography, Sheffield 

287 Architectural Review - Wm. J. Toomey 

293 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

294 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

295 Architectural Review - Reyner Banham 

296 Architectural Review - Reyner Banham 

297 Architectural Review - Reyner Banham 

298 Architects’ Journal - Wm. J. Toomey 

299 John Maltby, London 

300 Architects’ Journal — Wm. J. Toomey 

301 Architects' Journal — Sam Lambert, London 

302 Architects' Journal - Sam Lambert, London 

303 Architectural Review - de Burgh Galwey 

The illustrations of the Corbusier buildings (except photographs) 
are taken from the ‘Oeuvre complete’ and are reproduced here 
with kind permission of the publisher Dr H Girsberger. 

By the same author 

Theory and Design in the First 
Machine Age 

by Reyner Banham, PH.D. 

Size 9x6 ins. 296 pages, with 150 illustra¬ 
tions. Second impression. 

Price 45s. net. (Postage 3s. Od.) 

The purpose of this book is to document and annotate 
for the first time the development of design in the 
first machine age as a narrative of men and ideas; 
to trace from the training of the masters (Gropius, 
Mendelsohn, Mies, Le Corbusier) in the years around 
1910 to their maturity around 1930, their contacts with 
one another, with pioneer spirits in the other arts. In 
127,000 words of text Dr Banham takes architecture as 
his main theme, but at the same time deals with 
industrial design generally, together with painting 
and sculpture; in being scholarly he is far from dull 
and has written a most lively and readable book. 

Guide to Modern Architecture 

by Reyner Banham, PH.D. 

Size 7 3 A x TU ins. 160 pages with over 150 

Price 25s. net. (Postage Is. 3d.) 

In most countries, modern buildings now form an 
appreciable part of the backdrop to everyday life. Yet 
their critics cannot distinguish bad ones from good, 
and their supporters are liable to be told to sit down 
and shut up, if they venture a word of praise. This 
book lets some light into the situation, by briefly ex¬ 
plaining the elements that make up a modern build¬ 
ing (function, form, construction and space) and by 
illustrating and commenting on a world-wide, highly 
diverse selection of modern buildings. The result 
is a lively justification of the author’s claifn that 
modern architecture should not be difficult to appre¬ 
ciate, because it is ’like any other architecture only 
more so: it has more things to say and more ways of 
saying them. 

Architectural Press, London